Trade union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has expressed concern over the proposed all-share buyout of platinum miner Lonmin by Sibanye-Stillwater.
AMCU stated that the R5-billion buyout will lead to Sibanye-Stillwater assuming “full control of Lonmin”, thereby granting the current Lonmin shareholders an ownership of 11.3% shares in Sibanye-Stillwater.
AMCU President, Joseph Mathunjwa, said, “We receive this news with great concern, and given the lack of consultation with AMCU as a majority Union with great contempt! It once again confirms that for the mining bosses of this country, workers are nothing more than machines who should have no say in how we manage the economic affairs of this country”.
However, AMCU pointed out that its concern “runs much deeper” than the question of consultation. The union alleges that the act of “capitalist firms swallowing up its competitors” and intensifying the “monopolisation of the economy” was not a good prospect for workers.
The buying out of competitors, according to AMCU, serves to concentrate power in the hands of a small group of “capitalist bosses”, which the union also suggests uses such power to restructure companies, thereby “maximising their profits”.
“Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin will attempt to cut costs and this will mean job losses, ‘casualisation’ and extreme forms of intimidation in an effort to extract greater profits,” the union claimed.
Further, gains made at Lonmin since the 2012 Marikana shooting incident will now be “under threat”, the union added.
The union lambasted Sibanye-Stillwater for failing to safeguard jobs, stating that 12 600 jobs at Lonmin would be on the line over the next three years.
“This will come on the top of the 1 100 jobs that are currently being shed at Lonmin.”
Mathunjwa said the union will treat this matter with the “great urgency it deserves”, adding that it plans to consult its members and consider all options available, including mass action and “all conceivable legal avenues” to defend its members.
“We want to warn the new owners and current shareholders that we will fight and not sit quietly as our members’ future is destroyed.”