Babalo Ndenze

Political Bureau

THE mining sector – and platinum in particular – had had a disastrous year, haemorrhaging close to 10 000 jobs between February and June, and more job losses were expected, said the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Addressing the media on the sidelines of the Cosatu congress in Midrand yesterday, NUM president Frans Baleni warned of a “bloodbath of job losses”. Baleni was addressing the media following the Lonmin wage settlement awarding workers an increase of up to 22 percent, which he also described as a bad precedent.

“Another point we need to add is that while there is a settlement with Lonmin, Lonmin is shutting down one shaft, which was contracted to Murray & Roberts. So this means 1 200 jobs are going to be lost. Not only that, they have also stopped development, which was going to create employment opportunities for just over 3 000 workers and that has been stopped. So we are talking 4 200 job losses just in Lonmin,” said Baleni. He said Anglo Platinum had also given a section 189 notice to retrench 2 000 of its workers. . He said the Marikana saga had played itself out while the union had been engaging the mining industry “to prevent a bloodbath”. “Unfortunately, it seems we are already there,” he said.

On the Lonmin deal, the union said the increases ranged from 11 percent to 22 percent. Rock drill operators’ basic salaries had increased from R5 000 to R6 296 and the entire cost to the company would stand at R11 078. A one-off incentive payment of R2 000 would also be paid to workers for returning to work.