“Amcu [The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union] has consulted workers and received a mandate not to sign [an agreement],” he told the Cape Town Press Club in Newlands.
“When coming to wages, yes, we are hopeful because we cannot [for]ever be in a strike.”
The platinum sector has been crippled by the strike headed by Amcu. The union is demanding a R12,500 basic salary for miners. Around 80,000 miners have downed tools as negotiations continue between the union and employers.
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was facilitating the talks.
Mathunjwa said he had not received any feedback since Tuesday night but could confirm negotiations were still ongoing.
“Once the employer concedes on the proposal of the CCMA, I think that would unlock the deadlock to allow the engagement to be taken to the next level.”
He clarified that he meant deadlock in the sense that there was no agreement yet.
“A struggle is a struggle at the end of the day… Those who feel the shoes that they are wearing are too tight are the ones who have to make the changes to put new shoes on their feet.”
He said the struggle for a decent wage was the “right cause to be in” as it had implications for subsequent generations and their quality of life.
Amcu did not believe the threats of job losses, profit loss, and mine closures held any weight.
Mathunjwa said these threats and declarations were only made by employers when they received higher wage demands.
“It still shows that capitalism is still prepared to go the extra mile to frustrate workers.”
The CEOs of platinum producers Amplats, Implats and Lonmin this week spoke of restructuring and layoffs if the strike persisted, Agence France-Press reported.
“Prolonged strike action will result in more losses, and further fundamental restructuring and, inevitably, this will have an impact on jobs and indeed the economy,” they were quoted as saying.