De Beers Operations in supplied

Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday said it was “extremely disgusted and saddened” with De Beers after it issued Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act to retrench 152 workers at its Venetia Diamond Mine in Limpopo.

De Beers announced on Tuesday that it would soon initiate a large-scale retrenchment process with plans to cut 152 posts at its Venetia Mine outside Musina, and another 214 posts at some of its other mines in South Africa.

The union accused the diamond mining company of racism, saying there was no rationale for De Beers to retrench.

“There is already a list of employees who are going to be retrenched and are all blacks. This is pure racism and we strongly condemn the decision by De Beers to retrench only black mineworkers,” the NUM said in a statement.

The union said among the employees that the company is deliberately targeting are full-time shop stewards and health and safety reps.

The NUM said it will fight “tooth and nail” to ensure that De Beers stops these retrenchments.

“The NUM is going to consult with De Beers for the sake of consultation. Once the 60 days of consultations has elapsed, we will issue a certificate to strike and close the mine. We are also consulting with the surrounding communities to join us during the strike. We are sick and tired with mining companies who just decide to retrench for the sake of it,” NUM deputy general secretary William Mabapa said.

De Beers is owned by Anglo American.

Anglo on Tuesday announced its restructuring plans, which will see it streamline its asset portfolio.

There are 78 000 estimated job losses that will result from Anglo’s restructuring.

The NUM also marched on De Beers’ Kimberley Mines headquarters last month to protest against the group’s failure to consult the union about the sale of the mine.