Mineworkers at the Village Main Reef’s operations in Klerksdorp face a bleak future. This follows mine management’s cellphone messages to some workers. Management informed workers it will cut 6 000 jobs at the mine’s Tau-Lekwa, Kopanang and West Gold plant operations.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is opposed to the move. NUM insists that the company did not follow procedure when issuing Section 189 notices, which indicate the decision to retrench some workers.
This is a heavy blow for the mine workers, as the country is currently on lockdown. Most industries, such as theirs, operate under new and strict regulations, that only allow for half of the workforce to report for duty.
The say workers at Tau Lekwa operation received cellphone messages instructing them not to return to work, after the lockdown is lifted. Others say they didn’t receive their payments for this month, while others received only half of their salaries.
Workers say they have not received clarity form management as to why their salaries were cut. SABC News is in possession of a statement that indicates that Tau-Lekwa lost over R1.2 billion between 2015 and 2019.
It further lost R107 million in the first three months of 2020. The document also says that Kopanang Mine lost R307 million from March 2018 to December 2019. But workers say they are concerned about the situation the employer has put them through.
“It has invoked anger in us as the employees. We want to shame the company. He has actually degraded the dignity of the employees.”
“They have issued payslips and mine shows zero and I have worked for this month.”
“We are saying to them they must be clear, how did they reached to that level of saying they apply section 189 they are going to cut jobs that are closed to six thousand employees,” some workers say.
NUM says it is opposed to the retrenchments. Regional secretary in the Klerksdorp region Masibulele Naki has urged the company to remunerate the workers.
“We are saying to the capitalist of Tau Lekwa, Kopanang and West Gold plant, if they are tired to mine they must do us a favour they must come to the table and actually avail money to pay total packages of all Tau-Lekwa employees from there we will negotiate where we go.”
The Village Main Reef management could not be reached for comment.
In this video below, NUM rejects retrenchment announcement at Village Main Reef: