The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is deeply perturbed by the reports that Impala Platinum has decided to retrench 13 000 mineworkers over a period of two years in their Rustenburg operations. This is after they commenced with a restructuring process that led to the shedding of 2000 jobs last year.
The mining company is planning to shut down five operating shafts in the next two years. These planned retrenchments will have a devastating effect not only on workers who are breadwinners but their families who rely on their meagre salaries. The retrenchment of one mineworker usually affects more than eight other people who rely on that worker for survival.
What is more infuriating is the fact that the decision to retrench these workers was first announced in the media instead of engaging workers or trade unions. We view this as the highest level of arrogance and the total disregard for the livelihood of workers and their families. This heartless action by Impala Platinum further proves that mining houses do not care about workers instead in their eyes workers are only good for maximising their dividends. Workers are usually discarded when mining houses deem them useless in their quest for profit maximisation.
We support the call by our federation, Cosatu, for government to force the mining industry to put a moratorium on retrenchments until the job summit has been convened and also put money aside to do an industry wide training and retraining scheme that will help miners to attain useful skills rather than simply being dumped in the unemployment line.
As NEHAWU, we vow to relentlessly fight retrenchments in all sectors and more especially in the public service. In this regard, we call on employers to consider different options of saving jobs and that retrenchments should be a last resort.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za