JSE- and NYSE-listed Sibanye Gold has successfully reached an agreement with labour unions to cut 213 fewer jobs than had been at risk at its Cooke 4 operation.
392 out of the total 2 403 jobs at the struggling Cooke 4 mine will still be affected, however, with an additional reduction of 38 employees at the Ezulwini Plant. Nevertheless, unions have promised not to embark on any strike over wages in 2015. No forced retrenchments were implemented, however, due to the retrenchment avoidance measures being implemented.
“The required reduction in the employee complement was primarily achieved through voluntary separation packages and voluntary early retirement. In order to minimise job losses, vacancies were filled at other Group operations and contractors were displaced where possible, and those positions were filled with affected employees from Cooke 4,” Sibanye said in a statement.
An alternative work cycle has been implemented, which will result in better utilisation of the Cooke 4 asset as the mine will be worked Monday to Saturday (six days a week) every week as opposed to the existing shift 11 shift fortnight arrangement (eleven shifts over fourteen days). The net result of the implementation of the alternative work cycle will be an additional 22 working shifts per annum.
It has also been agreed that operations would continue to operate over four of the statutory public holidays. The forecast net impact of implementing the alternative work cycle, is to increase profitability at Cooke 4 by approximately R40 million to R50 million per annum.
Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye Gold, commenting on the outcome of the process said: “I am very pleased that we have again, with the co-operation of our employees and organised labour, managed to arrive at a mutually agreeable outcome. The measures we agreed on have been implemented at the Cooke 4 mine and I am confident that the Cooke 4 business unit is suitably positioned to achieve the required productivity and profitability levels, which will ensure operational sustainability.”
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