About 10,000 jobs could be lost in the mining industry, National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) general secretary Frans Baleni said on Thursday (20/09/2012).
"We are talking about 10,000 jobs lost,” he told media on the sidelines of the Congress of SA Trade Unions’ (Cosatu) conference in Midrand.
The industry had already lost 4800 jobs between February and June, he said.
Lonmin planned to close down a shaft operated by Murray & Roberts on contract. This would lead to 1200 lost jobs. It had also cancelled plans for a new development, costing a potential 3000 jobs.
Anglo Platinum (Amplats) had issued a section 189 notice in terms of the Labour Relations Act to retrench 2000 workers.
Impala had told the NUM some of its shafts were not profitable, which could lead to even more job losses.
"All of these things are happening while we are engaging the industry and DMR [department of mineral resources] to prevent a jobs bloodbath,” Baleni said.
This came as "expectation has been created in the industry” after a deal was reached with Lonmin of wage increases of up to 22 percent.
"Out of the unprotected action which was accomplished by violence and intimidation, there was a concession that was made, which can be[come]... a copycat.
"People can say: ’They did it at Lonmin, so we can go the same route and not follow the normal bargaining process as per the Labour Relations Act’,” Baleni said.
He said the NUM had been getting calls from members in the coal, platinum and gold mining sectors wanting similar increases.
Forty-six people have been killed in incidents relating to an illegal strike at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana, North West, since August.
On Tuesday, an agreement was reached between the striking workers and Lonmin. The deal was not negotiated through collective bargaining, but through direct talks with workers.
Baleni said the NUM was now talking to Impala Platinum, as its workers could potentially strike.
Implats wages were lower than those of Lonmin. Amplats’ wages were the highest of the three platinum miners, he said.
The NUM would meet the Chamber of Mines on Friday at 11am to discuss developments and bring forward the wage negotiation process. - Sapa