Unions to discuss measures to counter potential job losses at Sibanye Stillwater

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Unions say they will be discussing transfer options and other avoidance to mitigate the impact of nearly 3 000 job losses at Sibanye Stillwater.

The gold miner has initiated a Section 189 process of the Labour Relations Act at its Kloof 4 shaft.

The mining company revealed that due to ongoing financial losses resulting from operational constraints, a restructuring process at the mine would result in retrenchments.

Sibanye says other compounding factors affecting the Kloof 4 shaft include significant damage to the shaft infrastructure.

In a statement, Sibanye says the restructuring of the Kloof 4 shaft could potentially affect 2 389 employees and 581 contract employees.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu says he was surprised to hear about the looming retrenchments at Sibanye Stillwater through the media.

“They first made an announcement at the stock exchange before they spoke with the unions. What shocked us when they called us for a meeting yesterday, they sent a briefing to the employees that they intend to retrench 3 000 workers and we felt as unions, we are being undermined.  We are in a meeting where they are informing us about retrenchments. They are sending a briefing through an email to employees that they are retrenching.”

Avoidance measures

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) says it will be exploring avoidance measures and severance packages to soften the blow of the retrenchments on workers.

HOD for Organisational Development, Krister van Rensburg, says unions will use the sixty-day consultation period to explore solutions that will be in the best interest of their members.

“When we met with the senior leadership of Sibanye Stillwater yesterday morning, we told them that we are very concerned about the socio-economic impact of this retrenchment, especially in an area such as Carltonville, Randfontein…that far west rand area is really battling.”

“There’s a lot of suffering, there’s a lot of poverty, and this will surely impact on it however, as AMCU, we will probably make a lot of inputs for alternatives, or what we call avoidance measures. The typical one in a company like Sibanye Stillwater is to transfer these workers to different operations.”

VIDEO | Thousands could face retrenchment as Sibanye Stillwater enters Section 189 consultations: