Rustenburg – Almost 200 workers at Royal Bafokeng Platinum Mine in Rasimone near Rustenburg have been retrenched, the company said on Tuesday.
Spokesman Mpueleng Pooe said 174 employees were affected. The retrenchment was due to the “challenging” market conditions affecting the mining industry.
“Royal Bafokeng Platinum has not been immune to the impact of these challenging conditions, as we highlighted during the company’s interim results presentation on 4 August 2015 how the business had been impacted.
“Like the rest of the industry, we have had to relook at the business and reengineer and reposition it in response to these economic conditions to continue to drive towards operational excellence and long term sustainability.”
Pooe dismissed claims by some of the affected workers that they were not consulted prior to the retrenchment and believed they were retrenched for the sole reason of being members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).
“On the 5th August 2015, we commenced consultation with the unions in order to find ways and means to avoid the negative impact of this poor market and economic conditions, on the jobs at RBPlat,” Pooe said.
He added that as a result of the business review process, it was inevitable that some of the positions in specific areas of operations would be affected.
“This called for Section 189(3) and 189 to be implemented in consultation with our unions, National Union of Mineworkers and Uasa, which resulted in two agreements being reached, namely retrenchment agreement and sustainability agreement.
“The reasons for the retrenchment, being the operational requirements of the employer and the economic downturn, were discussed and debated in depth with the unions.”
He said in terms of the retrenchment agreement, the parties agreed on specific criteria to select the retrenched employees, and also agreed to endeavour to retain the necessary skills for the operations to continue, and also to exempt from the selection criteria any employees who had participated in the RBPlat Home Ownership Scheme.
“Employees were informed of these consultations on 4 September 2015 and were again informed when discussions were concluded on 21 September 2015, and advised that letters would be sent to the affected individuals,” he said.
“The affected employees received their notices of termination after the consultation process was concluded. They received one month notice, however, were released from duty to enable them to seek new employment opportunities, and would be paid for the notice month. As they are still currently employees of RBPlat, they are allowed and encouraged to discuss concerns and seek assistance from the company representatives as they require.”