Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

The editorial  “Amcu stance could backfire” on November 28 twists the strike at Sibanye-Stillwater and the circumstances surrounding it, portraying it in a manner that vilifies Amcu and its members, no doubt influencing public perception.

The issue is that Amcu members at Sibanye decided go on strike, resorting to their only real powerful weapon to make the employers listen to their wage demands. Sibanye employers use their power every day to ensure workers are at work, clock in and out on time and meet productivity targets. In negotiations they hire the top experts and lawyers. But when workers decide to use their power and go on strike, they are victimised and met with violence and repression.

The editorial argues that Amcu should know what Sibanye can afford. But for workers it does not matter what employers can afford, or claim they can afford. What matters for workers is how much they need to live decently.

With the apparent interests of workers at heart, the editorial notes that Amcu members and other workers are now losing wages and bonuses ahead of Christmas and new year. In this regard, it does not even question Sibanye’s no-work-no-pay policy, just stating it as fact. Rather it attributes the issue of workers losing wages to Amcu’s decision to stick to its mandate and go on strike.

The editorial further attributes divisions between unions and their members to Amcu’s decision to strike, and as if that was not enough, it goes on to attribute retrenchments sweeping the mining sector to Amcu and its members demanding higher wages.

In a context of rapidly rising cost of living, what is needed are  unions acting together in solidarity, while listening to and fighting for the needs of their members.

Greg Dor
Alternative Information & Development Centre