The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) convened its Education Structure Strategic Planning Session at the Protea Hotel, Sea Point in Cape Town from 27 to 28 January 2022. The Education structure took time out to reflect on issues of training and development in its strategic planning Session. The focal point was in the sectors that we organize Mining, Energy, Construction and Metal sectors.
The structure reaffirmed the position of NUM National Executive Committee (NEC) to demonstrate its dissatisfaction with the attitude of Eskom and Sibanye Stillwater towards collective bargaining issues. These companies are undermining the contribution of workers and their role as stakeholders as they are not negotiating in good faith. We have equally endorsed training and development for our own negotiator's skills training. We, therefore, encourage workers and NUM members to stand up and liberate themselves.
Furthermore, the education structure observes with concern how other companies undermine the transformation agenda of the country. These companies put previously disadvantaged personnel in positions for the purpose of compliance (window dressing) without being given access or space to exercise power and their mandate. We view this as a direct attack on the policies of our country. The NUM will be organizing campaigns against these specific companies that claim to be proudly South African, meanwhile, they are counter-revolutionary.
NUM Education Unit and its NEC will be opening its Artisan Academy in Midrand where the other college is situated. We view this as a milestone for NUM as it has already produced more than 67 artisans through RPL. We want to further flag our dissatisfaction with the attitude of some companies in granting paid time – off releases for their employees to attend courses. We will continue to invite all stakeholders to come and support us in the training and development of our members and communities. The meeting further resolved to intensify training on Fourth Industrial Revolution in all NUM regions to capacitate members in this concept to keep re-skilling our members and remain relevant in this era of technology.
The NUM Education Structure Strategic Planning Session noted the so-called Just Energy Transition agreement signed in Glasgow at COP26 last year, by which ESKOM will obtain concessional financing to accelerate the decommissioning of its coal fired power plants. We have noted the complete lack of transparency regarding this agreement and we are certain that part of the reason is that the loans are attached to conditionalities, which will further undermine our energy and economic sovereignty.
The closure of the power stations in Mpumalanga must never be unnecessarily rushed as it has a devastating socio-economic impact. South Africa must continue following the Integrated Resource Plan based on an energy mix appropriate to the development needs of the country. The NUM is not opposed to renewable energy and believes ESKOM should be involved in its development, which can give rise to a low carbon industrial path where the inputs are produced locally.
Developed countries have been using fossil fuels over the years to build their economies. They are responsible for the climate change crisis that we are now facing. It cannot be the responsibility of South Africa to sacrifice our economic development so they can continue to pollute.
South Africa has an abundance of coal reserves. It will be very irresponsible and reckless for South Africa to stop the use of coal, unless and until we are fully compensated by the rich industrialised countries.
The education structure confirms that it will be responsive and proactive in keeping NUM members to speed with the changes brought by 4IR. Furthermore, we will have a National Education Summit on the 4IR during the course of 2022. All stakeholders in our organizing space will be encouraged to support this initiative by the NUM.
Issued by The National Union of Mineworkers