Wiseman Khuzwayo

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) had been requested by Anglo American Platinum (Angloplat) to facilitate discussions between itself and representative unions around possible retrenchments, the body said yesterday.

It said the request for assistance was in line with the provisions of section 189A of the Labour Relations Act.

CCMA director Nerine Kahn said: “In anticipation of the consultation process between the parties, which is to start on Friday January 18 [today], we are putting together a high level team, including experts in a range of fields, to ensure we maximise our experience in similar situations on the platinum belt.”

She said these processes were complex and directly affected workers’ lives, as well as the future profitability of their employer. The CCMA intended to do whatever was necessary to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties.

Kahn said the loss of jobs due to retrenchments was an increasing trend in local workplaces. If an employer was contemplating retrenchments, she said, section 189A required the employer to give employees notice and to consult with the affected workers on a range of issues. These included: the reasons for the proposed retrenchments, measures to avoid them, possible alternatives to retrenchment, the timing of the dismissals, the method of selecting employees for retrenchment, severance pay and measures to mitigate the harsh effects of retrenchments.

Angloplat has said it intends training the retrenched workers in brick making, construction and other trades.