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NUM to approach court in bid to avert 3,500 Lonmin job losses

Lonmin this week announced it would cut 10 percent of its workforce to combat fluctuating prices.

FILE: The move to retrench thousands has been met with shock by unions. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it will approach the courts and the Department of Mineral Resources to fight the planned retrenchment of 3,500 workers at Lonmin's South African operations.

Lonmin this week announced it would cut 10 percent of its workforce to combat fluctuating platinum group metal prices.

The move has been met with shock by unions.

The platinum mine's CEO Ben Magara says its executive committee has already been reduced by 22 percent.

Lonmin says it hopes to reduce its staff through voluntary severance packages but the NUM's general secretary Frans Baleni this would still lead to a disastrous outcome.

"To us, be it voluntary or forced retrenchment, to us it remains destruction of jobs. Those people who

might have volunteered, in a matter of a few months, they won't have a penny. They will be chewing in

the construction sector, at something which was left when they were at Lonmin."