Johannesburg, South Africa — 01 October 2013 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is approaching the Labour Court to challenge the retrenchment procedures of Anglo Platinum (Amplats).
Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole said the company was aware of the urgent application, reports Fin24. “We have embarked upon an extensive consultation process and have discharged all our obligations under Section 189,” she said.
Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act is the one that deals with retrenchment processes.
“The company will however continue to engage with NUM through established channels.
It announced in January that 14 000 jobs would be cut as part of its restructuring process.
On Friday it said retrenchment avoidance measures like redeployment into vacancies across the group, voluntary severance, and early retirements had resulted in the number of employees to be retrenched being reduced to 3 300.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools on the same day in protest.
According to the SA Labour Guide’s website, companies found not to have followed fair procedures for retrenchments could be ordered to compensate the retrenched workers.
Such compensation could be up to one year’s normal remuneration for each retrenched worker.
On Monday Business Day reported NUM general secretary Frans Baleni as saying that the union had decided to pursue the matter in court rather than through industrial action. But NUM had not ruled out striking over the retrenchment issue.
“The national executive committee of NUM condemned Anglo Platinum’s insincerity in its application of the section 189 process and for reneging on agreed terms,” Baleni was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, security guards have been posted at Amplats’ shaft entrances in Rustenburg. “We are protecting mine property and workers,” said one guard who identified himself as ‘Frank’.
At the company’s Bathopele shaft workers sat on cooler boxes next to their cars while others gathered in the shade of trees. Drivers in passing cars hooted and workers responded by whistling and waving.
At the Khomanani shaft workers stood in groups, some leaning on a huge pipe near the railway line. “The strike is on. We are waiting to be briefed about a meeting that is being held in Johannesburg,” said Klaas Mpondo.
On Friday, the company said the strike was only legal for AMCU members. Members of other unions “’ the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity, and UASA “’ were expected to report for duty.
Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.