SABC News - Concerns over more looming retrenchments in mining sector:Wednesday 2 March 2016
 
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Concerns over more looming retrenchments in mining sector

Wednesday 2 March 2016 17:09

Bafedile Moerane

Mineworkers say they see a bleak future if retrenchments are implemented soon.(SABC)

Looming retrenchments in the platinum mines in Rustenburg, North West, have sparked mineworkers' fears.

The workers say they see a bleak future if retrenchments are implemented very soon.

One of the world's largest platinum producers, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has started consultations to cut 2 000 jobs at its Union and Twickenham mines in Rustenburg.

The company has been affected by a steep fall in platinum prices. Amplats has cut 15 000 jobs since 2011.

Thirty-seven-year-old Vuyo Masinga, not his real name, from Umthata in the Eastern Cape, is one of the unemployed people that flocked to the platinum belt in their thousands with the hope of finding jobs.

Masinga says he arrived in Rustenburg in 2011, searching for employment, but so far he has been unsuccessful.

He says all these retrenchments are denying the people an opportunity to find employment soon.

Amplats employs over 40 000 workers including contractors.  

The company says it has been affected by a sharp decline in the platinum price.

The platinum producer says they're hoping to complete the restructuring process without making forced retrenchments.

Anglo American Spokesperson, Mpumi Sithole, says the reduction should hopefully be achieved through a voluntary process.

“We've just only just commenced with the process. We will be engaging with all the key stakeholders including unions, government and our employees and other relevant stakeholders to work together and find the best possible solution for those employees that would atomically be impacted.”

It will take years before the platinum industry recovers from the effects of low commodity prices

However, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) General Secretary, David Sipunzi, believes that retrenchments have not been done in a fair manner.

“The NEC has noted with disgust the huge number of retrenchment notices that have been issued by various companies in the mining sector. A conservative figure of workers who are likely to be retrenched in the three months is about 32 000. However, after the announcement by Anglo American, that they have decided to dispose of some of their assets the figure is likely to reach 100 000.”

Economist Dawie Roodt says it will take years before the platinum industry recovers from the effects of low commodity prices.

Roodt says more job cuts are looming in the platinum sector.

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