The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has warned yet another company invoking section 189 of the Labour Relations Act – Samancor Chrome – that it would fight its plans to cut 595 jobs at its smelting operations.
While NUMSA tries to stop a jobs bloodbath at Samancor Chrome's Mooinooi smelter in the North West Province, they are also on defence mode in section 189 A retrenchment consultations at Glencore Alloys and Merafe Resources smelter in Rustenburg, in the same province.
Both Glencore and Samancor have said energy challenges are behind their decisions to resort to retrenchment processes at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
The NUMSA statement said Eskom should provide a cheap regular supply of electricity so that South Africa could industrialize and build our economy.
"As a union we are deeply concerned that once again the cost of electricity, and the crisis of loadshedding has resulted in the threat of job losses. Last year, the high cost of energy was one of the main reasons given by ArcelorMittal for serving us with section 189 retrenchment notice," the statement said.
The NUMSA statement said it was impossible to secure a stable and cheap power supply in South Africa while Eskom continues to lurch from one crisis to another.
"Loadshedding and high energy costs are having a direct impact on production, and in turn, this is resulting in workers losing their jobs," the statement said.
The statement said while Eskom's challenges had a negative impact on industrial consumers, Samancor's poverty was suspicious, considering the company's recent purchase of Hernic Ferrochrome.
"We have to wonder if the real motivation for retrenchment is greed. so that the company can simply improve its balance sheet by shedding jobs. Samancor has applied to the CCMA for it to facilitate the section 189 process and we are waiting for the company to confirm a date for consultation," the statement said.
NUMSA said it would "do everything possible" to mitigate against any job losses through the section 189 retrenchment process.