SA strives to save min­ing jobs

Lesotho Times - - Business -

PRE­TO­RIA - South Africa’s min­ing min­istry held talks with com­pa­nies and unions over planned job cuts on Wed­nes­day, as Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s gov­ern­ment frets over high un­em­ploy­ment ahead of key elec­tions next year.

The min­ing in­dus­try, which con­trib­utes around seven per­cent to Africa’s most de­vel­oped econ­omy, is strug­gling with sink­ing com­mod­ity prices, ris­ing costs and la­bor un­rest.

“It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs and none of us should leave this place with­out com­mit­ting some­thing to the ta­ble,” min­ing min­is­ter Ngoako Ra­matl­hodi told re­porters.

Mr Zuma’s African Na­tional Congress (ANC) heads into lo­cal elec­tions next year with its main ri­val the Demo­cratic Al­liance (DA) tar­get­ing wins in key metropoli­tan ar­eas, in­clud­ing Gaut­eng, home to eco­nomic hub Johannesburg.

The DA will tar­get the ANC on its in­abil­ity to re­duce stub­bornly high un­em­ploy­ment, which of­fi­cially stands at 25 per­cent but some ex­perts be­lieve is much higher.

Mr Ra­matl­hodi on Tues­day or­dered Glen­core to sus­pend oper­a­tions at its 10 mil­lion tonne-a-year Op­ti­mum coal mine be­cause the min­ing group hadn’t fol­lowed le­gal pro­ce­dure in its plan to cut 380 jobs at the mine.

Glen­core has said it com­plied with all le­gal re­quire­ments re­lat­ing to job cuts.

The DA de­scribed the sus­pen­sion at Opti- mum as a “panic move” that will make jobs losses worse.

Mr Ra­matl­hodi said talks with Glen­core had taken place overnight and he hoped to be able to lift the mine sus­pen­sion if the com­pany met gov­ern­ment di­rec­tives.

The mines min­istry is also me­di­at­ing be­tween Glen­core and power util­ity Eskom af­ter a spat be­tween the two com­pa­nies over the price the state-owned com­pany pays for coal.

South Africa is fac­ing po­ten­tially its big­gest-ever power cri­sis as Eskom im­poses reg­u­lar power cuts due to in­suf­fi­cient gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity, push­ing up costs for in­dus­try and ham­per­ing al­ready slug­gish eco­nomic growth.

The gold sec­tor’s two big­gest unions have re­jected a 17 per­cent wage in­crease of­fer from pro­duc­ers, in­clud­ing An­glogold, Har­mony and Sibanye, string­ing out pay ne­go­ti­a­tions and rais­ing the prospect of strikes.

Plat­inum pro­duc­ers, in­clud­ing Lon­min, An­glo Amer­i­can Plat­inum and Im­pala Plat­inum, have also clashed with unions and gov­ern­ment over their plans for job cuts and mine clo­sures.

Lon­min said last month it was plan­ning to close or moth­ball sev­eral mine shafts in a bid to sur­vive plung­ing prices, putting 6,000 South African jobs at risk.

–– Reuters

mar­ket. On top of that, the Chi­nese econ­omy is slow­ing down this year. Even its large fac­tory sec­tor is shrink­ing.

But Chi­nese banks have still man­aged to grow, at least com­pared to their global peers.

Two banks that fell out of the top this year were France’s BNP Paribas (BNPQF) and Ja­pan's Mit­subishi UFJ Fi­nan­cial Group (MBFJF). Both were hit by weak­en­ing cur­rency in their coun­tries –– the euro and the yen have fallen sub­stan­tially against the US dol­lar in the past year. That makes their as­sets less valu­able in dol­lar terms.

Top 10 banks ac­cord­ing to SNL Fi­nan­cial:

1. In­dus­trial & Com­mer­cial Bank of China 2. China Con­struc­tion Bank (China) 3. Agri­cul­tural Bank of China 4. HSBC (UK) 5. Bank of China (China) 6. Jpmor­gan Chase (US) 7. BNP Paribas (France) 8. Mit­subishi UFJ Fi­nan­cial Group (Ja­pan) 9. Bank of Amer­i­can (US) 10. Bar­clays (UK)

–– CNN

Lon­min said it was plan­ning to close or moth­ball sev­eral mine shafts putting 6 000 jobs at risk.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.