Saturday, July 31, 2010

De Beers Hit by National Union of Mineworkers Strike Threat

De Beers hit by NUM strike threat

JOHANNESBURG: Workers may down tools at De Beers operations, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said in a statement yesterday.

This followed the union's allegations that De Beers' Finsch mine had overlooked retrenchment processes and was rushing to serve workers with section 189 notices.

The union said it had been engaged with the diamond giant in a section 189 process through which De Beers intended to retrench 350 workers.

The process has now been riddled with inconsistencies as the company wants to retrench without adhering to an agreement between itself and the union, NUM regional secretary in Kimberley, Tshimane Montoedi, said.

In terms of processes agreed upon at Nedlac (the National Economic Development and Labour Council) between business, labour and government, the company should have had a training layoff scheme in place before it voiced its intentions to retrench, Montoedi said.

The agreement sets out clear mechanisms and processes to be followed, but De Beers has now reneged on an earlier agreement.

Montoedi said De Beers had initially agreed to enlist the services of Productivity SA “a Section 21 company that reports to the labour minister “ to find a solution to the waste it argued was problematic to the ore at Finsch.

However, De Beers refused to implement the recommendations made by Productivity SA, Montoedi said.

Productivity SA had recommended that De Beers tap into the R6.2 billion set aside in the coffers of the Industrial Development Corporation for companies in distress, he said.

As a union, we will now have to find a way to apply the injury to one is an injury to all principle by downing tools in all of De Beers operations.

De Beers said its spokesman, Sibiya Sibusisiwe, would comment shortly.“ Sapa

Published on the web by Cape Argus on July 31, 2010.
Cape Argus 2010. All rights reserved.

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