Solidarity: Lonmin job cuts a lesson to militant unions

Lonmin plans to shed around 6,000 workers due to falling platinum prices and high wage increases.

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JOHANNESBURG - Mining union Solidarity says the announcement by Lonmin Platinum that it plans to shed around 6,000 workers due to falling platinum prices and high wage increases should serve as a lesson to so-called militant unions.

Solidarity represents many skilled workers at the company and says some of these members will be retrenched at the Hossy and Newman shafts.

The union says many of its members have applied for voluntary severance packages due to the ongoing tension at the mine.

Secretary Gideon du Plessis says, "Our members are so sick and tired of the current conditions and the circumstances there that a whole host of our members have applied for voluntary separation packages as a result of the tension and favouritism towards Amcu."

onmin said an estimated 6,000 workers could lose their jobs due to a new restructuring plan, which includes closing down some of its North West shafts.

When announcing the possible job cuts, Lonmin said the platinum price had fallen by 14 percent since May and it was embarking on the restructuring process to safeguard its long-term investments.

The company said the jobs at risk included those of contractors.

It said the closure of shafts and placement of others under maintenance was aimed at making the business more sustainable.

The company's CEO Ben Magara said in a statement that the short-term pain was necessary to ensure long-term viability.

Lonmin employs around 30,000 workers, many of whom belong to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union which recently secured historic wage increases after a five-month long strike.