Gauteng Business News

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EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Retrenchments and Unrealistic Wage Demands in Mining Sector


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With the large amount of retrenchments planned for the mining industry, artisan training – over the next two to three years – is going to be seriously affected, said Sean Jones, a director and co-founder of black empowered training academy, Artisan Training Institute (ATI).

“We at ATI are extremely fortunate that our training centers are running at close to capacity. We are also looking to expand beyond the borders of South Africa, setting up training centres in collaboration with some of our major clients.

“However, if we take a brief look around we note that other training centres are battling and in-house training of artisans – especially for the mining sector – is taking a dip.”

This comes against the backdrop of Amplats making the very unpopular announcement that it is aiming to cut as much as 14 000 jobs, although it does seem to have capitulated from the pressure of unions and the government – and may limit the job cuts to 6 000.

But it is not just Amplats that is planning major retrenchments. Sibanye Gold’s Beatrix mine is planning the retrenchment of 3000 employees, and gold miner Village Reef last week suspended financing to the Blyvooruitzicht gold mine, putting 1 700 jobs at risk and underscoring claims that two-thirds of the sector is now loss-making. This announcement from Village coincided with AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s third biggest gold miner, slashing jobs at its Johannesburg office and other offices in Africa, reducing the total head count to 220 from 1000.

“Against this backdrop workers are demanding wages far in excess of inflation and sometimes as much as 60 – even 120% -at a time the industry is hemorrhaging red ink. These wage demands just cannot be met.

“All these pressures are spilling over,” said Jones, “and one areas that is likely to be seriously hit is artisan training – something that is of vital importance for the industry, and the South African economy at large.”

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