Amcu will down tools in the platinum and coal sectors in support of members who have been on strike for 3 months in the gold sector at Sibanye. Photo: Reuters

JOHANNESBURG – The Minerals Council South Africa said on Friday that it was deeply concerned about the potential consequences of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (Amcu) intention to embark on secondary strikes at mining companies next week.

Amcu will down tools in the platinum and coal sectors in support of its members who have been on strike for three months in the gold sector at Sibanye-Stillwater.

Minerals Council chief executive Roger Baxter said at last count, 15 member companies had received notices of secondary strike action from Amcu with effect from the night shifts of February 28 and 29, to around March 7, 2019.

“It is well-known that the gold and platinum industries, in particular, have been facing a number of challenges including poor commodity prices, continually rising input costs and operational challenges where the depth of operations continue to increase while grades continue to decline,” Baxter said.

“In 2018, on an all-in-cost basis at prevailing prices, 71 percent of gold mining operations were either marginal or loss-making, while more than 50 percent of PGM (platinum group metals) production was unsustainable.”

He said the strikes would only further undermine the sustainability of an industry on which many lives depended.

“The mining industry has the potential to be a key driver of the economy and change. It is unfathomable that Amcu would willingly call for secondary strikes in an industry that is already in jeopardy,” said Baxter.

“This would undermine employment and the livelihoods of millions of dependents. Employees and their families, and indeed the country as a whole, stand to lose so much.”

Baxter said the affected companies were considering the notices and would do everything in their power to avert a strike, including legal recourse.

African News Agency (ANA)