Lonmin dismisses job cuts reports

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LonminMine Independent Newspapers. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya.

Johannesburg - Lonmin's board on Tuesday dismissed reports that it will retrench workers at its mines at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

“The board has noted recent press speculation which is entirely without foundation,” spokeswoman Sue Vey said in a statement.

She said no decision had been made about the extent of any restructuring.

“Lonmin's immediate focus following the five-month strike is to achieve a safe ramp-up of production in order to rebuild the business and restore profitability.”

The ramp-up was progressing well and the market would be updated in due course.

The United Association of SA (Uasa) on Tuesday said it was irresponsible and premature to report that Lonmin had decided on cut jobs.

“Sensation-seeking statements in the aftermath of the recent history is therefore very irresponsible since it could easily ignite labour unrest again,” spokesman Andre Venter cautioned.

He said the company needed to be given enough time to return to full operation after the strike.

“Only when full production levels are achieved will mine management be able to conduct a due diligence exercise to determine whether or not a full-blown restructuring exercise will be required.”

On Monday, trade unions said they were not aware of job cuts at Lonmin mines.

Trade union Solidarity said it was not surprised by reports that Lonmin planned to fire 5700 workers, general secretary Gideon du Plessis said.

“We were told during negotiations that retrenchments are imminent. The company has not formally consulted with us with its plan to cut jobs. We only picked it up on the news,” he said.

The dominant union at Lonmin, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), said it was not aware of the planned job cuts.

The National Union of Mineworkers said: “We have not been consulted about it. There has not been formal engagement.”

General secretary Frans Baleni said retrenchments might be triggered by the long platinum sector strike.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

The strike ended on June 24 when they accepted a three-year wage deal that will increase salaries by R1000 in the first and second year of the agreement, and R950 in the third year. - Sapa

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