Business: Dominion uranium mine starts process to retrench employees
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The trade union Solidarity has received an Article 189 notice from Uranium One whereby the group gives notice that the retrenchment process for 1 013 of its 1 175 employees at its Dominion uranium mine outside Klerksdorp will begin. The mine will now be placed on care and maintenance.
Nearly 162 employees are expected to stay on to do the basic maintenance on the mine while the other 1 013 employees will presumably be retrenched by 11 January 2009.
According to the notice various aspects had a considerable influence on this decision. The price of uranium dropped considerably in the 11 months between December 2007 and October this year. The world-wide economic problems have also placed further pressure on the company. Furthermore, the cost of explosives rose by 70% since March this year while the price of sulphuric acid increased by 290% since the mine opened two years ago. Meanwhile the mine has also experienced problems with reaching its production targets.
“Management has now decided to place the mine under so called ‘care and maintenance’ which means that only the necessary maintenance work will be done in the mine. No further production will take place at the mine,” explains Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans.
“The retrenchment process will place the more than 1 000 employees in an economical crisis. According to our calculations the more than 1 000 employees being retrenched will lead to more than 8 000 dependants being left without an income by 11 January 2009,” says Kleynhans.
Meanwhile the mine has also indicated that it will only pay out the minimum severance pay, of one week’s pay for every year’s service, to employees.
The mine produces mainly uranium, with gold as a by-product.
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