Some countries protect employees from virtually any form of dismissal. South African law accepts that in the best of interests of an enterprise, and all its stakeholders, there could be a need to ‘down-size’ the operations. But a formal statutory process must be followed requiring meaningful ‘joint consensus-seeking’. Hopefully the parties can then agree on the most practical and fair way of protecting the interests of as many employees as possible. It is very heartening to know that Pan African Resources and the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) have been able to reach consensus and avoid a damaging power-play.
NUM members approve job cuts at Evander Gold: Allan Seccombe – 14/3/2017 BusinessLive published by Business Day [subscription required]
The Evander mine in Mpumalanga will lay off 976 people, the NUM said on Monday. After talks with management, the NUM said the reduction in jobs at loss-making Evander in Mpumalanga would initially focus on voluntary separation packages and redeployment to other operations within Pan African, which mines gold in Barberton and coal in KwaZulu-Natal. It has a small platinum recovery operation treating tailings from a chrome mine.
Pan African said it would also earmark some staff for its proposed Elikhulu tailings project at Evander to treat 1-million tonnes a month of surface material, but it needed to raise R1.7bn to start the project. The company said on Friday that it would not issue equity to fund the project.
The NUM said up to 2,400 jobs were under threat when Evander served the section 189 notice under the Labour Relations Act on unions at the mine, at the end of February.
As part of the agreement reached with Pan African, the company would try to “source funds to avoid the closure of the mine, which will affect more than 2,000 employees, whom the majority are our members”, the union said.
The NUM’s members agreed to the deal with Pan African, giving the union their “blessing to sign, so to avoid the closure of the mine”.