The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa.  Picture: THE TIMES
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: THE TIMES

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) says it has no faith in Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and plans to march on the Union Buildings to demand that the government changes all its "trade agreements".

Amcu has apportioned some of the blame for the jobs bloodbath in the mining industry to trade agreements with countries such as the US, which Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said allowed mining companies to beneficiate their commodities offshore instead of in SA.

"These structural challenges, left unattended by our government, are affecting employment security as companies spend externally and create markets for other countries’ products, thereby exporting jobs," Mathunjwa said on Thursday.

"This is exacerbated by unfavourable trade agreements which do not promote local manufacturing, beneficiation and job-rich growth.

"It is time that government reviews all trade agreements with a view to stimulating our economy and addressing social justice needs."

The union had filed a section 77 notice two weeks ago, setting out its intention to march on the Union Buildings, he said.

Should this not yield Amcu’s desired outcomes, Mathunjwa said the union would be forced to go on strike at all the operations where it organised.

Speaking to the media, Mathunjwa said the loss of 70,000 jobs in the sector since 2012 was indicative of the problems that required urgent attention from the Presidency and the government’s economic cluster. The challenges in the sector were "bigger than Zwane".

Mathunjwa urged the government to force mining companies to act in the best interests of workers and the country’s economy rather than taking a "narrow industrial relations approach" that opted for the retrenchment of workers when pressure mounted.

mahlakoanat@businesslive.co.za

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