The governing African National Congress (ANC) said on Wednesday it was emphatically against any retrenchments in both the private and public sectors, and that it was unsustainable for mineworkers to continue to bear the brunt of job losses.
Gold Fields, one of the world’s largest gold mining firms, announced a restructuring at its South Deep operation on Tuesday, which it said would result in about 1 560 jobs being cut.
The news came slightly over a week after Impala Platinum said it would cut 13 000 jobs over two years as part of a strategic restructuring process.
Gold Fields said notices in terms of section 189 of the Labour Act would be served on the two unions representing workers, followed by a 60-day consultation process facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
It said Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe had been informed of these developments.
The ANC said the mining sector was an industrial development backbone upon which the South African economy relied.
“Over the years, the mining sector has been shedding jobs, and the recent pronouncement of more than 50 000 purported job losses across the board is shocking, as every mineworker benefits seven or more family members,” it said.
ANC EMPHATICALLY AGAINST RETRENCHMENTS pic.twitter.com/HV5ypKbcXa
— African National Congress (@MYANC) August 15, 2018
Mantashe said on Tuesday he was concerned at the decision by Gold Fields to go ahead with restructuring plans without due regard to processes spelled out in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA).
“In terms of Section 52 of MPRDA which enjoins all the parties, we call on the sector to urgently convene a dialogue aimed at finding alternative solutions to this impasse,” the ANC said on Wednesday.
“It is unsustainable that mineworkers continue to bear the brunt of losses, as this is not necessarily a function of productivity, but historical and irrational management decision.”