Boikarabelo
Feature image credit: Wikimedia

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in KwaZulu Natal is extremely angry with Somkhele Mine’s decision to retrench.

NUMs reaction is a result of the company’s failure to adhere to the Labour Relations Act of 1995, Section 189(A) when dealing with retrenchments. 

Somkhele Mine has not issued Section 189 notice to retrench and the union is not aware of retrenchment consultation meetings that we had with the company.

NUM has stated categorically clear that its understanding is that mining companies have an obligation to set up future forums as per (MPRDA No 28 of 2002) whereby unions are formally updated in terms of the future of the mine and possibilities of retrenchment but those meetings can never be regarded as section 189 notice consultations and MPRDA does not supersede LRA.

“The union is taking the company to CCMA for its failure to adhere to the Labour Relations Act on retrenchments,” comments Muzikayise Zakwe, NUM KwaZulu-Natal regional secretary

The NUM will also be approaching the Department of Minerals Resources (DMR) about the matter.

“NUM calls for Somkhele mine to respect South African labour laws and the company must revisit its social and labour plan in order to convince local community about its intentions to mine in the area of Mtubatuba because failure to do that will negatively affect our members through retrenchments like this,” continues Zakwe.

On the 23 January 2019, the NUM met with Somkhele Mine and the company was represented by the HR Manager, the meeting was convened after the management sent a brief to workers inviting them to take Voluntary Separation Package (VSP).

In that brief, the management alleged that the NUM agreed with them to retrench.

During the meeting, the union questioned the company the reason for sending a brief to workers with misleading information.

The response of the company was that according to them they have done the consultation, therefore, they are now at a stage where they are offering VSP’s.

The NUM is still waiting and urge the company to adhere to the due processes of the law in this country.