Security: Battle Concerning Planned Lonmin Retrenchments Continuing
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The trade union Solidarity today reacted sharply to statements by the platinum producer Lonmin in which the company claimed that it had reached an “agreement” with trade unions to retrench 4 000 employees at its Marikana mines. Solidarity maintains that consultations with the company are still under way and that the process has by no means been finalised.
According to a media statement that Lonmin released earlier today, the number of planned retrenchments at the company’s Marikana mines has been “reduced” to
4 000 employees. However, according to Solidarity this is not true. In terms of the original Section 189 notice issued to Solidarity in November last year, the company plans to retrench 3 000 employees at Western Platinum Ltd and 1 000 employees at Eastern Platinum Ltd. In addition, 1 500 employees have already been retrenched at Lonmin’s Limpopo mine following the closure of the mine.
“Not only is there no truth behind the alleged reduction in the number of employees who will possibly be retrenched, but the process is also still a long way from completion,” explained Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans. “It is not at all yet certain that 4 000 employees will lose their jobs at Lonmin, as the company claims. Solidarity is still involved in a consultation process and will still propose alternatives to retrenchment. We will ensure that labour legislation is followed to the letter and runs its full course. Solidarity has definitely not agreed to this figure.”
According to Kleynhans, Solidarity will tomorrow continue the consultation process, as prescribed by the Labour Relations Act. “Tomorrow we will primarily have consultations regarding the possible mitigating options currently available to reduce the extent of the planned retrenchments.”
Solidarity proposes that various aspects be taken into consideration in order to reduce the planned retrenchments. Solidarity’s proposals include doing blasting on Sundays and letting employees work one Saturday per month. In addition, natural attrition and employees who are willing to take voluntary severance packages should also be taken into account.
Meanwhile, Solidarity believes that tension is now building because 300 top members of management, who are not protected by the consultation process or by trade unions, have already received notices of retrenchment.
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