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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

SHOCKING: 3500 Breadwinners Are Facing Retrenchments At ArcelorMittal!


The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is shocked that, just as Christmas is approaching, 3500 wage earners at ArcelorMittal South Africa’s (Amsa) Newcastle, Vereeniging, and Arcelor Rall and Structures are set to lose their jobs as a result of the company’s board and management’s decision to close these three plants.

The reasons tabled for this severe measure include Eskom’s continued loadshedding antics, Transnet’s high costs and unreliability, unpredictability, and the significant decline in South Africa’s infrastructure development exacerbated by disruptions to rail service, escalating energy prices, and consistently low economic growth, which are all credited to the African National Congress’ (ANC)-led government.

Numerous businesses in the country, as well as private families, and students who must study by candlelight in order to pass their final year exams, have all experienced significant stress and financial loss as a result of Eskom’s ongoing loadshedding. Which begs the question of why ArcelorMittal South Africa, the so-called Minister of Loadshedding (Electricity), was appointed. An additional cadre deployment motivated by the cookie jar that the ANC has controlled for almost 30 years.

For a very long time, the administration has been mismanaging the state apparatus. President Cyril Ramaphosa has called out South Africans, accusing them of “badmouthing” the nation when they voice their dissatisfaction with certain situations. In order to generate possibilities for our inhabitants, we need a government that is prepared to collaborate with other relevant parties and that takes the concerns of the people of our nation seriously.

The UDM observes that the horrific decision would have a detrimental effect on the local and regional economies where the plants are situated, especially in Newcastle Works, which is a significant hub of the KwaZulu-Natal province’s economy.

While stressing that it was still awaiting the formal restructuring notice, the UDM concurs with the union Solidarity that a consultation process with the parties affected by this extreme move, including trade unions, should have preceded the announcement. AMSA has a history of taking extreme measures; in 2019, they closed the Saldanha Works and laid off around 1000 employees nationwide.

The UDM is calling for the affected workers and trade unions to band together in opposition of AMSA’s decision. We do not, in fact, advocate for AMSA to postpone the layoffs until after the 2024 provincial and national elections, as the ANC would. We are calling on AMSA to seek alternatives that can safeguard these people’s occupations from potential unemployment, which will inevitably result in more impoverished families.

Issued by:
UDM National Office
Mr Yongama Zigebe
UDM General Secretary

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