Lonmin warns of retrenchments

2012-10-31 15:51

Lonmin Platinum has put unions on notice that it is contemplating restructuring, which could include retrenchments, the company has said.

“I can confirm that we have notified the unions,” vice president for human capital Barnard Mokwena told Sapa today.

He said a statement on the matter would be issued.

The notice to unions said the number of employees who might be affected was not known at this stage.

Lonmin currently employs 28 042 people.

The company is at the centre of an inquiry into a shooting in which 34 people died and 78 were wounded when police opened fire on them during an illegal strike in Marikana on August 16.

It took more than a month before an agreement, brokered by religious leaders and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration brought workers, some of whom had broken away from the National Union of Mineworkers, back to their posts and got shafts running again.

Trade union Solidarity said it received the Section 189 notice from Lonmin on the start of a retrenchment consultation process, dated October 30.

“Solidarity will do everything in its power to prevent retrenchments from taking place, because it is unfair for employees that did not participate or instigate the unprotected strike and unlawful protest action, to become the victims of the five weeks of workplace anarchy,” spokesman Gideon du Plessis said.

According to the notice, the company was reviewing its current operating model and contemplating restructuring Marikana operations.

It needed to manage current cost pressures affecting the business. A preliminary overview indicated a need for cost savings.

Signed by Mokwena, the notice reads: “All these initiatives could result in retrenchments.”

Over the next weeks, management would consult on its reasons for restructuring, and to receive input from trade unions and non-unionised employees in Patterson job grades F, E, D and C.

The company wanted to reach consensus on measures to avoid and minimise redundancy, the number of redundancies, the timing of proposed redundancies, and selecting employees and severance pay for employees who might be retrenched.

The alternatives of cost cutting and a moratorium on recruitment had not been enough, and any other alternatives would be considered.

“The proposed retrenchment is envisaged to be implemented during early 2013,” the notice reads.

The severance package proposed was two weeks’ remuneration for each year of continuous service with Lonmin Platinum.

Notice pay, accrued annual leave and any contractual entitlements would be paid out by no later than the employee’s last working day, provided a medical exit exam was concluded and company assets returned.

The company proposed to offer counselling, financial planning, and other reasonable services requested.

In the last year it had retrenched three people, the company said.

Du Plessis said, in response to e-mailed questions, for this restructuring “the target is management and not really our members, but we are representing most of the senior and skilled employees who are affected.

“We will get more information at the first consultation session next week. We merely believe that these employees are now innocent victims.”

Following the August 16 shooting, the strike at Lonmin ended after workers were granted above-average wage increases.

Under the pay agreement, the lowest underground worker would earn R9 611 (up from R8 164), a winch operator R9 883 (up from R8 931), a rock drill operator R11 078 (up from R9 063) and a production team leader R13 022 (up from R11 818).

All workers were also promised a once-off R2 000 bonus.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.