Protestors outside
Lonmin headquarters
in London
Johannesburg, South Africa — 01 November 2012  – South African focused platinum miner Lonmin  has put unions on notice that it is contemplating restructuring the company, which could include retrenchments.  

“I can confirm that we have notified the unions,” vice president for human capital Barnard Mokwena told Sapa, according to a Fin24 report. He said a news statement on the matter would be issued.

The notice to unions said the number of employees who might be affected was not known at this stage. Lonmin currently employs 28,042 people.

The company is at the centre of an inquiry into the shooting where 34 people died and 78 were wounded when the police opened fire on them during a strike over pay in Marikana on 16 August.

It took more than a month before an agreement “’ brokered by religious leaders and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration “’ brought workers, some of whom had broken away from the National Union of Mineworkers, back to their posts and got shafts running again.

Trade union Solidarity said it received the Section 189 notice from Lonmin on the start of a retrenchment consultation process, dated 30 October.

“Solidarity will do everything in its power to prevent retrenchments from taking place, because it is unfair for employees that did not participate or instigate the unprotected strike and unlawful protest action, to become the victims of the five weeks of workplace anarchy,” spokesperson Gideon du Plessis said.

According to the notice, the company was reviewing its current operating model and contemplating restructuring Marikana operations. It needed to manage current cost pressures affecting the business. A preliminary overview indicated a need for cost savings.

Signed by Mokwena, the notice reads: “All these initiatives could result in retrenchments.”

“The proposed retrenchment is envisaged to be implemented during early 2013,” the notice reads.

The severance package proposed was two weeks’ remuneration for each year of continuous service with Lonmin Platinum.

Notice pay, accrued annual leave and any contractual entitlements would be paid out by no later than the employee’s last working day, provided a medical exit exam was concluded and company assets returned.

The company proposed to offer counselling, financial planning, and other reasonable services requested.

Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.