Substantial job cuts loom at AngloGold

2013-07-31 14:43

AngloGold Ashanti is to shed a substantial number of jobs to cut costs.

“We are reducing numbers in Johannesburg and other regional offices all over the world,” spokesperson Alan Fine said today.

“My understanding is that it is substantial, but not that substantial,” Fine said. He was unable to be more specific.

Business Day earlier reported that AngloGold was reducing its head count at its Johannesburg head office, and other offices in Africa, from 1 000 to 220. At the Blyvoor gold mine in Carletonville, 1 700 jobs were at risk, according to the newspaper.

Mining company Village Main Reef earlier announced it would stop its financial support to Blyvoor.

Blyvoor CEO Marius Saaiman told Sapa the mine’s board would have to determine whether it could continue without the money.

On Friday, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) assigned two mediators to help in the gold sector wage talks. The Chamber of Mines said the CCMA appointed national senior commissioner Afzul Soobedaar and independent mediator Peter Harris.

The chamber advised that mediation between the gold producers and the unions begin tomorrow at the chamber’s offices.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity, and Uasa declared a dispute after talks with the chamber deadlocked last Wednesday. They then referred the matter to the CCMA.

Last week, the chamber dismissed threats of a strike in the gold sector, describing them as premature.

“Talk of strike action ... points both to ignorance of the negotiation process and of the recent history of wage negotiations in the gold sector,” said Elize Strydom on behalf of gold producers.

During talks, the producers tabled a revised offer of 5% in respect of wages and benefits.

The NUM wanted surface workers to earn a minimum of R7 000 a month, and underground and open-cast workers R8 000 a month. Solidarity wanted a 10% increase.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant called on unions and producers to put the interests of the economy and the country first.

“I want to appeal to all employers and employee representatives who are involved in wage negotiations to do so in good faith. If there is a deadlock, give the facilitation a chance. There is absolutely no reason why the different parties cannot find the middle ground.”

She hoped strikes would be a last resort.

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