The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on Tuesday called for decisive state intervention in stopping retrenchments in strategic sectors of the economy through strategic nationalization and state ownership.
COSATU “joins the call made by National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) that South Africa can no longer afford retrenchments”, said Ntai Norman Mampane, COSATU acting national spokesperson.
This came after Lonmin Plc, the world’s third largest platinum producer, announced plans last week to lay off 3,500 workers in a bid to reduce production cost. Meanwhile, telecommunication giant Telcom also plans to lay off thousands of its workers.
“Actions by Lonmin and Telkom expose the mercilessness of neo- liberal globalization of shedding jobs for capital to sustain its profits at the expense of the workers,” Mampane said.
“COSATU calls on Lonmin and Telkom to re-study their unpalatable acts considering the national developmental goals of the country.”
In the face of looming massive layoffs, COSATU will have to mobilise workers and society at large towards a battle against retrenchments, said Mampane.
“All employers including Lonmin and Telkom must know that as COSATU we are gearing for a fight against retrenchments. Workers cannot be sacrificed at the altar of profit maximisation.”
According to Statistics South Africa, almost 14, 000 jobs were lost in mining during the fourth quarter of 2014.
South Africa’s unemployment stands at around 24. 3 percent officially, whilst the expanded narrative of unemployment is at 35. 8 percent.
The high rate of retrenchments in the mining industry has drawn concern from Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi.
“The cumulative retrenchments we’ve seen are a great worry for us as the regulator of the mining industry,” the minister said in a media statement issued in Cape Town on Tuesday. “We need bold leadership from all in the industry at this time, in order to decisively tackle this matter.”
“Notwithstanding the difficulties faced by the industry currently, the impact of retrenchments on the economy – when we are already grappling with the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality – will have an adverse impact on the country’s socio-economic development objectives,” he said. Enditem