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Can jobs be saved in the mining sector?

Questions have been raised about job security & whether a NUM strike could add more pressure to the sector.

FILE. On Friday, the NUM said it would go on strike if planned retrenchments went ahead in a week that saw Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi urgently meeting unions and mine-owners. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Questions are being asked about whether government and mines can save jobs and if the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)'s threat to strike over retrenchments could put the mines under more pressure.

On Friday, the NUM said it would go on strike if planned retrenchments went ahead in a week that saw Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi urgently meeting unions and mine-owners.

The union said it would go on strike over retrenchments but mine owners said they can't sustain themselves as commodity prices are low, power supplies are unreliable and wages are increasing.

Labour analyst Terry Bell said it's inevitable that jobs are going to be lost.

"There are going to be retrenchments. Within this environment there will have to be retrenchments. The unions are now talking about reskinning, but reskinning for what? There are no jobs. This is the point."

This appears to mean that there is very little room in which Ramatlhodi can maneuver.

Bell said he should have tried intervene over a year ago.