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NUM concerned by suspension of services at Optimum

The NUM is deeply worried about the decision taken by business rescue practitioners to suspend services with JIC Mining services at Optimum coal mine in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is deeply worried that business rescue practitioners at Optimum coal mine have served JIC Mining Services with a letter to suspend its services until further notice.

This decision by the business rescue practitioners will affect 480 employees employed by JIC Mining Services.

The NUM is worried because the majority of these employees are NUM members.

“It is important to highlight that JIC Mining Services is a subsidiary of Tegeta Exploration as such it is compelling that the business rescue practitioners treat employees of JIC Mining Services equal to employees of both Optimum and Koornfontein mine,” says NUM Highveld regional secretary Tshilidzi Mathavha.

“Despite other trade unions formations claiming to have members at JIC Mining Services, NUM commands 72% of the membership. It is on this basis that we deem it necessary that these employees are treated with dignity and be allowed to continue to render services to the company,” continues Mathavha.

“When Optimum coal mine was placed under business rescue process in terms of the Companies Act the NUM viewed that as a move that will bring financial stability and allow workers to continue to sell their labour for them to be able to provide for their families, however, it seems like the business rescue practitioners see that as a business opportunity as there is no substantial progress,” says Mathavha.

Mathavha’s statement reads:

“Sections 151 and 152 of the Companies Act requires that the business rescue practitioner must convene a meeting and present a business rescue plan within 35 days, to date the NUM has lost counts and the plan has not come forth.

“This clearly indicates that business rescue practitioners do not have interest in saving the business but make money while the majority of workers are left jobless.

“If the business rescue practitioners are not comfortable to work with companies associated with Guptas we share the same sentiment in that regard, however, our interest as the caring union is that workers should not suffer any financial loss.

“We are raising this precisely because workers at JIC Mining Services have not been paid their salaries for the last two months.

“We urge the business rescue practitioners to present a rescue plan before the company is liquidated since the sequences of events are leading to that direction.

“The NUM is also concerned about the conduct of Tegeta Exploration, they have been treating JIC Mining Services employees as contractors while they know that JIC Mining Services is their own company.

“This has been done deliberately by Tegeta Exploration to perpetuate cheap labour. The conditions of employment of JIC Mining Services are far less compared to Optimum employees.

“The NUM will fight tooth and nail to ensure that these employees enjoy all the benefits that are enjoyed by Optimum and Koornfontein employees once there is stability in the company.”