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Sibanye-Stillwater urged to upskill and not retrench thousands of workers

On Wednesday, the company announced its decision to cut 5,270 jobs at its Marikana mine in the North West due to financial losses.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Platinum producer Sibanye-Stillwater is being urged to upskill and redeploy over 5,000 workers it plans to retrench.

On Wednesday, the company announced its decision to cut 5,270 jobs at its Marikana mine in the North West due to financial losses.

The mining company said it would enter into Section 189 consultation at the operation where 3,904 were permanent positions and 1,366 contractors would be terminated.

What the Section 189 process means is that the company, and all those affected, have to consider mitigating possible retrenchments and seek alternatives to downsizing staff at the mining operation.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), however, want Sibanye to consider alternatives.

The NUM said it was negotiating with Sibanye-Stillwater to minimise the number of job cuts during the restructuring process.

The union said the platinum producer was being drastic with its plans to retrench over 5,000 workers.

NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said: "But normally, we will call for Sibanye-Stillwater to look at upskilling and redeploying these miners to other operations that are not affected."

Meanwhile, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has accused Sibanye-Stillwater of sacrificing workers for profit.

“The Competition Commission gave workers permission on the silver platter to be the sacrifice in the altar of capitalism.”

The mining company is expected to start retrenchments in December.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)