There is no rational for De Beers to retrench. It is just union bashing. De Beers had already predetermined who to retrench. There is already a list of employees who are going to be retrenched and are all blacks. This is pure racist and we strongly condemn the decision by De Beers to retrench only black mineworkers. It is also not in line with Section 189 notice (3) (d) which state that "the employer must issue a written notice inviting the other consulting party to consult with it and disclose in writing all relevant information including, but not limited to the proposed method of selecting which employees to dismiss."
"The company must stop these retrenchments or face the possible closure of the mine. The NUM is not going to allow them to retrench. We do not see the reason why they must retrench. 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," said William Mabapa, NUM Deputy General Secretary.
We are calling for the company to implement Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act of 1995 in alignment with the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development (MPRDA) Act of 2002 Section 52 which states that if the company anticipate retrenching 10% or more employees it has to inform the Minister of Minerals Resources. The NUM request the DMR to intervene and immediately to stop this drastic action by the company that will leave hundreds of mineworkers in a dire situation and the surrounding communities in Limpopo. De Beers must adhere and respect the laws of this country and it is the role of the DMR as the regulator to make sure that the laws of this country are respected.
Amongst the employees that the company is deliberately targeting are our full-time shop stewards. The NUM full-time shop steward on Health and Safety is one of the employees who is on the list to be retrenched and this position is regulated by the Mine Health and Safety act. It is a critical position. Who is going to observe or monitor health and safety issues at the mine? As the NUM, we are extremely worried that injuries and fatalities in the mining industry have dramatically increased. De Beers only cares about profit. They do not care at all about health and safety issues at the mine.
The other position is that of the NUM full-time shop steward and this position is regulated by the recognition agreement. The recognition agreement cannot be terminated by retrenchments. It can only be terminated by negotiations. De Beers is deliberately trying to weaken the NUM by retrenching NUM full-time shop stewards. The NUM will still be a majority union at Venetia Diamond Mine even after these retrenchments with more than 80% of the membership. We do not see the reason of retrenching our full-time shop stewards. This is union bashing at its best.
The NUM is going to fight tooth and nail to make sure that these retrenchments do not happen.
For more information, please contact:
William Mabapa: NUM Deputy General Secretary: 082 880 4439
Livhuwani Mammburu: Acting NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257
The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257