The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Friday it had received a notice from multinational steel manufacturing company ArcelorMittal about a restructuring exercise which may result in retrenchments.
ArcelorMittal South Africa said on Wednesday it was mulling a large-scale restructuring exercise which might affect more than 2,000 jobs, citing a difficult domestic economic environment.
Numsa said the notice received hours after the company’s stated that ArcelorMittal employed 8,769 employees and that it was difficult to estimate the exact number of those who may eventually be affected by the proposed restructuring, as this was subject to the outcome of a consultation process and the consideration of alternative measures.
The union however said the earlier public statement made clear the company had “already gone ahead of the consultation process and made a determination of the number of workers who will be affected” by hinting at 2,000 job losses.
“This is another example of the flagrant disregard which the management of [ArcelorMittal] has for workers and their right to due process,” Numsa said in a statement.
It said the company had also taken a decision to review some tenders issued to contractors, resulting in those contractor employers serving the union with Section 189 notices, which permit employers to dismiss workers for operational requirements.
“This obviously means that more than the number anticipated will lose their jobs,” Numsa said.
“It also comes as no surprise that the management of [ArcelorMittal] is proceeding with this course of action, just a few months after our members embarked on a strike to end outsourcing at the company. They clearly want to punish workers for fighting to end the exploitation of contract workers supplied by so-called service providers.”
The union said it would attend a consultation meeting expected to take place next week and would “do everything in our power to minimise the number of jobs which will be lost”.
– African News Agency