The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has said it is urgent that the upscaling of skills transfer and reskilling initiatives are taken seriously by the department of mineral resources.

This forms part of the demands by the Union during their socio-economic march, where they handed over a memorandum of demands to the DMR.

The nationwide march in the capital city of Tshwane saw over 20 000 workers march to the Union Buildings to hand over a memorandum of demands. The memorandum states that the upskilling of workers is urgent and forms part of a skills development revolution. It further states that displaced workers should be given the necessary skills to be absorbed during the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

AMCU is calling on government to ensure the upskilling of miners ahead of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Most miners have skills that might be rendered redundant due to the ever-improving mechanisation in the mining and related industries. The improved mechanisation is what has been dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

President Joseph Mathunjwa warned of a negative impact on low and semi-skilled jobs. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is merciless, workers who are injured and incapacitated are banished to their places of origin because capitalism is heartless.” He said, “Today they talk of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is another form of capitalism dealing with efficiency, super profits and super production.”

Mines are moving towards mechanisation and the need for mechanics, machine operators, electricians and other artisans is growing. A new form of mechanisation within the mining industry that has been developed locally, is horizontal raise boring technology (HRB). The technology offers mechanisation to reduce the number of workers who are exposed to dangerous underground conditions- some of the benefits include less use of explosives, greater remotely operated possibilities and improved tunnel construction accuracy. In an ideal situation this mechanisation would remove mineworkers from dangerous work areas and play a vital role in achieving zero harm.

 

5 April 2018 by Nobuhle Nkhoma