HomeBase MetalsTrade unions declare dispute with Exxaro

Trade unions declare dispute with Exxaro

Exxaro workers go
on strike earlier
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 29 November 2010 – Trade unions Solidarity and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have declared a dispute with diversified South African-based resources group Exxaro Resources Limited (Exxaro).

“This comes after the company informed trade unions in a Section 189 notice earlier this month that it planned to retrench approximately 300 employees next year,” the unions said in a joint statement issued here. They maintained that the company had failed to follow the correct procedure and they were demanding that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) step in.

According to Exxaro’s notice, the company intended to go ahead with the retrenchments if its Siyaya project could be implemented successfully. This project had been undertaken to examine the core business of the company, and following on the project, it had been recommended that the possible retrenchment of 300 employees be carried out.

The unions added that during the second information session, they had been informed that Exxaro planned to restructure its service and core functions in an attempt to cut down on costs.

“According to Exxaro’s management, this restructuring would increase the company’s competitiveness, which would eventually benefit its shareholders,” the unions said. They added that during the first information session, they had stressed that the company should consult fully with them.

Solidarity and the NUM also stressed that the rationale for the retrenchments should be set out properly before the process could be communicated to employees at grass-roots level. They said the process followed to date had left much to be desired and they had no other option but to declare a dispute.

In response, Exxaro said a process of consultation with its labour unions that started this week had been postponed after the unions had declared a dispute.

Spokesperson Hilton Atkinson said the restructure of parts of the group was intended to improve productivity, reduce cost of services and operations, and streamline organisational structures. He added that the company remained open to constructive engagement with its unions. “The group will do everything possible to limit the impact on our employees, and the consultation process will examine all options,” he said.