Nearly 2000 workers might lose their jobs if Sibanye institutes retrenchments

Neal Froneman CEO Sibanye Still-water. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane (ANA).

Neal Froneman CEO Sibanye Still-water. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane (ANA).

Published Nov 1, 2022


Close to 2000 employees and 465 contractors could be affected if diversified precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater institutes retrenchments after failed attempts to address productivity in its Beatrix 4 shaft in Welkom.

Sibanye said on Tuesday that it would enter into consultation, in terms of S189A of the Labour Relations Act (S189), with organised labour and other affected stakeholders, regarding the possible restructuring of its SA gold operations.

In a statement, the miner said through a formal Section 189 consultation process, the company and affected stakeholders would consider measures to avoid and mitigate possible retrenchments and seek alternatives to the potential cessation or downscaling of operations and associated services.

"The proposed restructuring could potentially affect employees at Beatrix 4 shaft, those employees who provide support services to the shaft, and Kloof 1 and 2 plants. In addition, employees may be affected in associated companies, including Sibanye Gold Protection Services Limited and Sibanye Gold Academy Proprietary Limited," Sibanye said.

According to the company, the initiation of S189 consultations follows numerous unsuccessful attempts to address productivity and other operational issues at the Beatrix 4 shaft and the depletion of Surface Rock Dump (SRD) mineral reserves at the Kloof 1 plant.

The miner said subject to the outcome of the consultation process, it envisaged that the proposed restructuring (of both Beatrix 4 shaft and Kloof 1 plant) may potentially result in the retrenchment of up to 1,959 employees and affect 465 contractors.

However, the purpose of the section 189 consultation process is to engage in a meaningful joint consensus-seeking process in an attempt to avoid job losses. It is anticipated that the consultation process will reduce the number of employees that may potentially be retrenched through the implementation of, amongst other things, possible retrenchment avoidance measures, including natural attrition, retirements, voluntary separation, and the transfer of suitably skilled employees to vacant positions, it said.

Sibanye chief regional officer: of Southern Africa, Richard Stewart, said: “To allow shafts and operating plants that are no longer sustainable to continue operating at a loss will threaten the remaining life of mine of the other SA gold operations, and ultimately also the employees of the broader Group. We are committed to minimising the impact of the proposed restructuring and will constructively engage with all relevant stakeholders in an effort to avoid job losses, while attempting to limit the impact on the remainder of the operations employees and the sustainability of the group".