AngloGold Ashanti and trade unions are busy concretising a possible final arrangement that would help avert retrenchments of more than 800 employees that the mining giant was planning to remove to lay off due to economic conditions it was currently facing.
According to AngloGold spokesperson, Chris Nthite, the mining company met with unions – the National Union of Mineworkers, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), Solidarity and Uasa but had not yet finalised the talks or reached agreement on substantive issues.
The company recently announce a plan to retrench 849 workers but the parties agreed to seek ways to prevent the retrenchments completely.
“On Monday we met with the organised labour representatives of our employees to explore steps to mitigate job losses. This engagement is ongoing and it remains too early to pre-empt an outcome,” Nthite said.
He said the company was consulting the stakeholders that comprised of the unions and authorities with a view to address challenges facing its South African business.
These included its maturing operations with a declining production profile, cost escalations and frequent regulatory disruptions which have hampered our ability to build and sustain volumes.
“Part of this process of engagement entails the necessary creation of a more sustainable and cost effective South African business that better reflects the realities of the operating environment. While some roles may be affected in this process, job cuts will always be a last resort,” Nthite said.
He said in order to avert the imminent retrenchments, the company and the unions had focused on retraining of the affected workers with a view for them to fill any vacancies within the business.
A second option open to the employees were voluntary severance packages to be offered to them to open enterprises that would sustain them economically and thirdly some would be transferred to other mines that had less compliment of workers.
“We are looking at these options in order to mitigate the job losses. We are going to meet as stakeholders again soon for more discussions on these issues,” Nthite said.