National Union of Mineworkers AngloGold Ashanti shaft stewards have met to deliberate section 189(3) notices issued by AngloGold Ashanti.

The notice stated that AngloGold Ashanti could  retrench up to 8 500 workers from its South African operations.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) believes the planned retrenchments will create more unemployment, increase poverty in mining communities and create ghost towns with no hope. The meeting resolved to oppose the planned retrenchments. In addition NUM will engage relevant government departments and the company in an effort to avoid job losses.

This follows an announcement at the end of June by AngloGold Ashanti that it could retrench up to 8 500 employees in South Africa. This stems from the company looking to restructure its South African business units in order to return them to profitability.

AngloGold Ashanti is to begin a consultation process with employees in terms of section 189 and 189A of the Labour Relations Act, with respect to this restructuring.

AngloGold Ashanti signalled to its stakeholders earlier this year that it would review its South African gold-mining operations in light of heavy, and ultimately unsustainable, losses it incurred.

The restructuring of the company’s production and cost base is necessary to protect the overall viability of its South African business over the long-term, and to safeguard employment at viable business units in the West Wits and Vaal River regions.

AngloGold Ashanti says it is committed to transparency and will make the plans and assumptions arising from this review available for scrutiny by an independent third-party, during the CCMA process.

While all efforts will be made to limit the impact on employment to the greatest extent possible, this restructuring contemplates some 8 500 roles across AngloGold Ashanti’s South African business, which currently employs about 28 000 people, including contractors.

Feature image credit: AngloGold Ashanti

AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine