Johannesburg - The National Union Mineworkers (NUM) has criticised arguments by Gold Fields chairwoman Mamphela Ramphele on employment in the mining industry.
“Her arguments are seriously flawed, contradictory, and lack honesty,” spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement on Thursday.
Gold Fields recently unbundled its assets, creating Sibanye Gold.
“The company has to date refused to enter into any agreement that seeks to avert possible job losses as a result of the unbundling...,” he said.
It also did not want to commit to retaining the existing conditions of service for employees, he claimed.
Ramphele told the Mining Indaba 2013 in Cape Town on Wednesday:
“Defending existing jobs may ultimately be to the detriment of sustaining the industry, with new types of jobs yet to be experimented with.”
The union claimed this was contradictory, as the industry appeared to be trying to bulk up employment through the creation of jobs which would prove to be unsustainable.
“(We are) acutely aware that the jobs she refers to are short-term contractual jobs in construction of building houses, and workers would be worse off,” Seshoka said.
“(The NUM) will not be deviated from its primary function of organising workers and defending jobs simply because industry says our focus must be elsewhere.”
Ramphele also encouraged unions to be at the forefront of promoting innovation and productivity, taking a long-term view beyond annual wage increases.
She said union leaders had to close the gap between themselves and workers to avoid being seen as part of the elite. - Sapa