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Security: Retrenchments possibly soon at Lonmin


Recent Gauteng Business News

Solidarity concerned about looming job losses in mining industry

While Statistics South Africa last week announced that the mining industry showed a loss of 32 000 jobs in the third quarter, the third biggest primary platinum producer, Lonmin, issued a notice to trade unions of possible retrenchments.

According to this notice Lonmin is experiencing an immense decrease in the need for platinum – especially due to the drop in new car sales and car production. Lonmin now plans to cut back on expenses and is therefore considering retrenchments. The group also indicated that it would soon present a revised structure of a more effective and smaller Lonmin to its employees. Meanwhile, Lonmin will also meet with trade unions to discuss voluntary severance packages.

“The situation in especially the mining industry has now reached an extremely concerning level in which looming job losses are being discussed at various mine groups,” explains Solidarity spokesperson, Jaco Kleynhans. “According to Statistics South Africa almost 32 000 fewer workers were employed in the mining industry between July and September than between April and June. More than 346 000 workers were employed in the mining industry between April and June while only 314 000 Gauteng workers were still employed in the industry between July and September. This shows a shocking decrease in employees of nearly 9,2%. Solidarity is extremely worried about the effect that the current economic situation may have on this already decreasing workforce.”

According to Kleynhans, Solidarity is especially concerned about the influence of the economy on the platinum industry. “South Africa produces almost 80% of the world’s platinum, but this commodity does not enjoy the same safe-haven status that gold has. The price depends largely on the physical need for platinum. The use of platinum as a catalyst in car exhaust systems represents 54% of all platinum that is produced. It is therefore clear that the South African platinum industry will suffer. The price of this precious metal has already dropped considerably in 2008 and this will place even more pressure on the industry and job security in the industry,” says Kleynhans.

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