Evander Gold Mine to retrench 1722 mineworkers, says NUM

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JOHANNESBURG, February 25 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has been informed that Evander Gold Mine in Mpumalanga intends to retrench most of its workforce, the union said on Sunday.

The NUM was shocked and saddened by Evander Gold Mine’s intention to retrench 1722 mineworkers in Mpumalanga. The company had a total workforce of 1812, NUM Highveld regional secretary Tshilidzi Mathavha said.

“Evander Gold Mine is a subsidiary of the Pan African Resources. Evander Gold Mine served the NUM with [a] section 189(3) notice of the Labour Relations Act to retrench workers,” he said.

“The company informed the NUM that the retrenchments are as a result of an old mine with deteriorating and inadequate infrastructure, high operating costs, such as rising electricity, labour costs, and a low gold price.”

The NUM totally opposed the retrenchments at Evander Gold Mine. The retrenchment of 1722 permanent workers was bad, given the fact that the majority of mineworkers supported 10 people per family, which meant that a lot of people would be negatively affected by the retrenchments.

“The NUM is concerned that when mining companies issue section 189 of the Labour Relations Act they do not align it with section 52 of the MPRDA 2002 [Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act], which states the following: ‘The holder of a mining right must, after consultation with any registered trade union or affected employees or their nominated representatives where there is no such trade union, notify the minister in the prescribed manner – (a) where prevailing economic conditions cause the profit to revenue ratio of the relevant mine to be less than six percent on average for a continuous period of 12 months; or (b) if any mining operation is to be scaled down or to cease with the possible effect that 10 percent or more of the labour force or more than 500 employees, whichever is the lesser, are likely to be retrenched in any 12-month period’,” he said.

There was a need for real transformation in the mining industry that emphasized human development, not only profits, Mathavha said.

– African News Agency (ANA)