The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday said more than 1 500 of its members would be embarking on a march at Sibanye Gold’s Cooke 4 shaft in Westonaria, west of Johannesburg, to protest against possible retrenchments and the closure of the operation.
In a statement, the NUM said Sibanye Gold must surrender their mining licence to any responsible company to allow it to take over the operation.
This comes after Sibanye Gold announced in July that it had begun talks with unions for job cuts at its Cooke 4 mine and at Ezulwini Gold and Uranium processing plant due to “continued operational underperformance and accumulating financial losses”.
NUM branch secretary Bongikosi Mrasi said Sibanye Gold was not concerned with the livelihoods of the mineworkers but only concerned about “profits for its shareholders”.
“This drastic actions by the company will leave hundreds of mineworkers in a dire situation and the surrounding communities in the West Rand,” Mrasi said.
The NUM said they were also concerned that Sibanye Gold wanted to close down the shaft without following proper process.
The union called on the department of mineral resources to intervene on the retrenchments and closure of the mine through Section 52 of Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development (MPRDA).
Section 52 states that if the company anticipates retrenching 10% or more of its employees it had to inform the minister of minerals resources.
If given the greenlight, the proposed retrenchments would affect all 1 700 workers employed at Sibanye Gold Cooke 4 operations.
“The NUM will fight tooth and nail to make sure that its members are not retrenched cheaply,” Mrasi said.
Mrasi also said they would also be joined by 850 contract workers during their march on Tuesday.
– African News Agency (ANA)