The logo of Glencore is seen in front of the company's headquarters in the Swiss town of Baar.

Rustenburg - The National Union of Mineworkers would fight retrenchments at Glencore’s Optimum Coal Mines, the union said on Monday.

Deputy general secretary William Mabapa said this was after Glencore proceed with its plan to retrench 628 employees.

“We want to place it on record that when we met with the company [on Tuesday the 30th June 2015 at the CCMA from 10h00 to 12h00] in Witbank and the same day at the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in Pretoria from 14h30 to 17h20, the agreement in principle was that after the DMR issued Optimum Coal Mines with Section 93A, the company must study the document and come back to officially chart a way forward with stakeholders. As NUM, we are still waiting for a meeting at DMR with Glencore,” said Mabapa.

“We are watching the space from now until the 31 July 2015 as to what DMR will do to enforce compliance. If DMR fails, we are consulting with our lawyers as to what recourse we will take against DMR if they fail and Glencore succeeds with retrenchment.”

He said if Optimum did not comply, the minister should take its mining license.

“This will be a testing case to get the government department to wake up and do their work,” he said.

“We are aware that Glencore is still operating with contractors like Coalcore with 1,100 employees and other subcontractors. The ministers of labour and DMR must explain why the company can retrench its employees but continue with subcontractors. This is a foreign approach by Glencore.”

He said DMR failed to issue directives as empowered by Section 52 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) to recommend corrective measures like judicial management (corporate rescue) or liquidation as opposed to retrenchment, but instead issued Section 93A of the MPRDA requesting the company to submit rehabilitation plan for the depleted and mined out areas as part of compliance of any mining licence holder.

ANA