NUM warns of massive job losses in coming months

The South African mining industry is under pressure from sinking metal prices and soaring costs.

FILE: South African platinum miners queue to undergo essential medical and safety procedures before working, early on 25 June 2014 at the Wonderkop mines in Marikana Rustenburg, after a five month long strike. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Monday more than 36,000 jobs were under threat in the embattled industry over the next three months.

Last week, Anglo American announced it would be cutting up to 2,000 jobs at its Union and Twickenham mines, as part of a proposed restructuring process.

The NUM said it's already facilitating talks with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) aimed at reducing the number of workers affected and to ensure that fair retrenchments, where they can't avoided.

Spokesperson David Sipunzi said thousands more workers maybe left jobless by the end of the year.

"Those figures were before Anglo American announced that they're going to sell some of their assets within the country. Now that sale obviously will come with job loses as well because the new owners will want to reduce their employees."

The union says it's disgusted by the high number of retrenchment notices that have been issued by various companies in the troubled mining sector.

Sipunzi says it's extremely worrying.

"We can't welcome retrenchments. The fact that we participate in the Section 189 processes, facilitated by the CCMA, is because we want to minimise the numbers affected; and where it is impossible not to retrench, [it] must be done fairly."

The South African mining industry is under pressure from sinking metal prices and soaring costs, which has triggered a wave of job cuts across the industry.