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Gold sector unions warned of job cuts

Following an announcement of massive job cuts in the platinum sector, gold sector unions have been warned.

Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu mine. Picture: Harmony Gold.

JOHANNESBURG - Unions in the gold sector have been warned that companies could face the same fate as their counterparts in the platinum field after announcements of massive job cuts in the industry.

Lonmin on Friday announced that 6,000 jobs are at risk while Anglo American said its plans to cut around 53,000 of its workforce globally.

Union Solidarity, which represents many Lonmin workers, said a large number of its members will apply for voluntary severance packages.

General Secretary Gideon du Plessis said, "We need to negotiate with these lessons learnt that we should not negotiate or strike members out of a job. The gold industry and the coal industry are in worse positions than the platinum industry and we can only aggravate the situation."

At the same time, Anglo American said it may also sell off many assets as it battles a slump in metal prices.

It said that in the longer term the company, which employs about 151,000 staff members' word wide, aims to reduce its work force by about a third.

CEO Mark Cutifani said if global conditions declined further, the company will consider selling more of its underperforming assets than currently planned.

"What we're saying is some of those assets are not where we'll invest longer term, in terms of the future of the company."