The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has raised alarm over the potential loss of thousands of jobs in the mining sector, attributing the looming crisis to the ongoing instability in electricity supply by Eskom.
The union’s announcement follows the revelation that up to 10 000 mine workers could face retrenchment by January 2024, with mining companies already issuing retrenchment notices, particularly in the gold and platinum sectors.
NUM spokesperson Luphert Chilwane emphasised the urgent need for mining companies to consider alternative measures to protect workers from the impending job losses.
Chilwane says, “They should actually look at alternatives to try to, if possible, re-empower those workers so that they can transfer them to other operations that are not affected by what they are stating. So I can confidently say to you that the National Union of Mineworkers is currently engaging with those companies to try to see if an alternative can come out.”
The mining sector set to cut thousands of jobs before the festive season:
The dire predictions come in the wake of a tragic incident at Impala’s Shaft 11, where 11 mineworkers lost their lives due to the breakage of a winder rope connected to the personnel conveyance cage that transports employees up and down the shaft.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has been vocal in demanding accountability for the incident.
Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa expressed frustration, stating, “Amcu has been calling for the amendment of the Mine Health and Safety Act for years. Company bosses need to be held accountable and should be charged with culpable homicide. Some of these accidents are repeatable accidents. It’s an accident that could have been avoided, especially these kinds of accidents. I believe this mechanical fault that led to this accident could have been addressed.”
The mining industry faces not only the immediate challenges of safety concerns but also the broader threat of job losses, prompting unions to intensify engagements with companies.
‘Mining bosses must be held accountable’: Joseph Mathunjwa