Tuesday, August 01, 2017

South Africa: NUM Media Release on Retrenchment
31 July 2017

1. Massive Job losses in the mining industry

The proposed retrenchments in the mining industry raise a lot of questions around whether this is a justifiable action given the huge profits experienced by mining companies through the years and whether mines are being socially responsible by resorting to short term solutions.

Once again, as a union, we are seeing that when things go bad, workers are amongst the first to suffer the consequence. The NUM can confirm receipt of section 189 notices from AngloGold Ashanti and Bokoni Platinum Mine in Limpopo to retrench 8 500 and 2651 workers respectively. The Bokoni Platinum mine number excludes contractors. Over 3000 contract workers will lose their job in that mine through retrenchment, raising the total figure to be retrenched to more than 5 000.

The NUM is in support of the notion that says mining companies can do a lot if only they change their mindset and instead of looking for easy solutions of cutting jobs, begin to look at the broader environment in which they operate.

As a union, we are much concerned that some mining companies have defaulted, and are no longer following the guidelines of a stakeholder declaration in the mining sector, which was created to save jobs. Through the declaration, companies have vowed not to retrenchments as the first course of action when faced with challenges.

2. Call for job summit

All these retrenchment threats by the companies validate the call by the NUM that we need a Job Summit and jobs plan to deal with the issue of the ongoing retrenchments.

The NUM calls on the companies to rethink on their positions. They must create opportunities for job creation rather than maximising profits at the expense of the poor mineworkers who earn poverty wages, while directors are earning millions as bonuses only. Given the research that says each mining job supports around 10 people, thousands of families will be affected by these job losses.

The planned retrenchments will create more unemployment, increase poverty in the mining communities and create ghost towns with no hope and human dignity.

3. Relationship with mining companies

The rift between the National Union of Mineworkers and the mining companies is forever growing. It is common cause that many of these companies regard the NUM as an enemy rather than an important stakeholder. While the government and the Chamber of Mines continue to battle it in and out of courts, it is the workers who will suffer on the ground.

4. Proposed moratorium by Minister Zwane

The NUM wants to reiterate its position that it is deeply disturbed by the current consideration by Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane to put in place a moratorium until the finalization of the current court challenges of the recently gazetted Mining Charter by the Chamber of Mines.

We are of the view that such moratorium will negatively affect our members through job losses, since there will be no section 11 approvals taking place on the change of ownership and new mining or prospecting rights. All of this is taking place while we are faced with enormous job losses in various operations amounting to close to 20 000 affected employees.

The proposed actions by the Minister, unfortunately, emanates from his very own court agreement of withdrawing the implementation of the charter with Chamber of Mines, thus the union will be submitting to the Department to desist from implementing the envisaged moratorium with immediate effect. As the move will definitely be found wanting by the court of law, as it deviates from the principles and objectives of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002.

The NUM will oppose these retrenchments with the necessary vigour and will fight tooth and nail with these mining companies. As a build-up, we are embarking on a protest march tomorrow in Matlosana region. Capitalism uses retrenchment to maximise profits when their pockets are becoming dry the first thing that comes into their minds is to retrench workers. It is on that basis that we are saying that workers cannot be victims of monopoly capital. Retrenchments in the mining impact negatively on the downtrodden. We call upon the minister to take the mining licence of Bokoni Platinum Mine to stop mothballing of the mine on the expense of mineworkers and the community surrounding Bokoni.

For more information, please contact:
David Sipunzi:NUM General Secretary 082 883 7293
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257.

The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street.
Cnr Frederick

Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257
Web: www.num.org.za<http://www.num.org.za><http://www.num.org.za>
Twitter: @Num_Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NUM/100860023402167

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