Lonmin's plan to cut 5700 jobs surprises Amcu, NUM

2014-08-25 21:52

Trade unions were not aware about job cuts at Lonmin mines in Marikana outside Rustenburg in North West, they said.

Trade union Solidarity said it was not surprised by reports that Lonmin plans to cut 5700 workers, said general secretary Gideon du Plessis today.

"We were waiting for something like this to occur. We are not surprised."

He said Lonmin indicated during wage negotiations that it was assessing some of its shafts that were not making profit.

"We were told during negotiation that retrenchments are imminent. The company has not formally consulted with us [Solidarity] 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), also said it was not aware of the planned job cuts.

"We are not aware of this," said national treasurer Jimmy Gama.

The National Union of Mineworkers said too it was not aware of the impending retrenchment.

"We have not been consulted about it. There has not been formal engagement," said general secretary Frans Baleni.

He said the retrenchments might be triggered by the long strike in the platinum sector.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Impala 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 R1000 in the first and second year of the agreement and R950 in the third year.

Lonmin was not available for comment.

Amplats announced on July 21 that it planned to sell its Rustenburg and Union mines.

"The intention to exit Union mine [in Limpopo] ... has already been announced, and it has now been concluded that Rustenburg and our Pandora JV asset will be better placed in the hands of new owners who would be able to provide the focus and capital for the operations to have a successful future," said CEO Chris Griffith at the time.

The company broke the news, reporting vastly reduced profits for the six months ending June 30 2014.

Griffith said the dominant feature of the first half of the year was the strike, during which 40% of Amplats's production was not in operation.

On August 16, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa told thousands of mineworkers that Amplats plan to cut jobs was not linked to the recent wage strike in the platinum sector.

"We submit that the magnitude of this decision is not one that can be taken in a month, it has always been coming," said Mathunjwa.

"As a union we are prepared to discuss the plans of the company to protect the interests of our members in this transition process."

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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.


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.