Lonmin dismisses ‘job cuts’ reports as speculation

2014-08-26 17:22

Lonmin’s board has dismissed reports that it will retrench workers at its mines in Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

“The board has noted recent press speculation which is entirely without foundation,” said company spokesperson Sue Vey today.

She said no decision had been made about the extent of any restructuring.

“Lonmin’s immediate focus following the five-month strike is to achieve a safe ramp-up of production in order to rebuild the business and restore profitability.”

The ramp-up was progressing well and the market would be updated in due course.

The trade union Uasa today said it was irresponsible and premature to report that Lonmin had decided on cut jobs.

“Sensation-seeking statements in the aftermath of the recent history is very irresponsible since it could easily ignite labour unrest again,” cautioned spokesperson Andre Venter.

He said the company needed to be given enough time to return to full operation after the strike.

“Only when full production levels are achieved will mine management be able to conduct a due diligence exercise to determine whether or not a full-blown restructuring exercise will be required.”

Yesterday, trade unions said they were not aware of job cuts at Lonmin mines.

Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis said the union was not surprised by reports that Lonmin planned to fire 5 700 workers.

“We were told during negotiations that retrenchments are imminent. The company has not formally consulted with us with its plan to cut jobs. We only picked it up on the news,” he said.

The dominant union at Lonmin, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), said it was not aware of the planned job cuts.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said: “We have not been consulted about it. There has not been formal engagement.”

NUM general secretary Frans Baleni said retrenchments might be triggered by the long platinum sector strike.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

The strike ended on June 24 when they accepted a three-year wage deal that will increase salaries by R1 000 in the first and second year of the agreement, and R950 in the third year.

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