Sibanye Gold aims to chop 7400 jobs

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Di­neo Faku

THE RETRENCHMENT blood­bath con­tin­ued af­ter Sibanye Gold said yes­ter­day that 7 400 jobs were on the line as it planned to re­struc­ture its loss making Beatrix West and Cooke oper­a­tions.

The re­trench­ments at Sibanye, South Africa’s big­gest gold pro­ducer, follow sim­i­lar plans by An­gloGold Ashanti, the world’s third big­gest gold pro­ducer, which said last month 8 500 jobs would be lost as it con­sid­ered plac­ing some of its age­ing do­mes­tic oper­a­tions on care and main­te­nance.

Bokoni Plat­inum Mine in Lim­popo also announced last month that it would re­trench 2 651 em­ploy­ees .

Sibanye said yes­ter­day that it would en­ter into con­sul­ta­tion with its stake­hold­ers in terms of sec­tion 189A of the Labour Re­la­tions Act to con­sider al­ter­na­tives to the po­ten­tial clo­sure of the oper­a­tions in an at­tempt to avoid or re­duce re­trench­ments.

It said the sec­tion 189 con­sul­ta­tions fol­lowed nu­mer­ous failed at­tempts to con­tain losses at th­ese oper­a­tions.

It also said losses ex­pe­ri­enced at the oper­a­tions had neg­a­tively af­fected the group’s cash flow, the sus­tain­abil­ity and eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity of other of its oper­a­tions in the South­ern Africa re­gion.

The con­tin­ued losses also posed a threat to more sus­tain­able em­ploy­ment across the re­gion.

Sibanye chief ex­ec­u­tive, Neal Frone­man, said the de­ci­sion to re­struc­ture the op­er­a­tion had not been taken lightly.

“The long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the group as a whole is our pri­mary fo­cus and is nec­es­sary if we are to con­tinue to de­liver su­pe­rior value to all of our stake­hold­ers.

Threat­ened fu­ture

“The losses ex­pe­ri­enced at the Beatrix West and Cooke oper­a­tions threaten the fu­ture of other group oper­a­tions and the em­ploy­ment of many other South Africans,” Frone­man said. The job losses comes as South Africa slipped into a tech­ni­cal re­ces­sion and the un­em­ploy­ment rate reached a 13-year-high of 27.7 per­cent in the first quar­ter.

“We are, how­ever, aware of the dif­fi­cult so­cio-eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment in South Africa and will en­gage with all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers in an ef­fort to min­imise job losses, while en­sur­ing that ad­di­tional jobs are not placed at risk in fu­ture,” Frone­man said.

The Na­tional Union of Minework­ers (NUM said there could be even more job cuts at Sibanye be­cause the num­ber ex­cluded close to 3 000 con­trac­tors who are also fac­ing re­trench­ments.

“The NUM strongly con­demns in the strong­est words pos­si­ble the black­mail un­leashed by min­ing com­pa­nies led by Sibanye Gold, An­gloGold Ashanti and Bokoni Plat­inum mine in an­nounc­ing th­ese mas­sive retrenchment,” said Ken­neth Buda, the NUM’s min­ing co-or­di­na­tor at Sibanye Gold.

“The jobs blood­bath is a clear at­tack on the work­ing class, com­mu­ni­ties and the poor, a di­rect at­tack on mine work­ers in par­tic­u­lar.”Sibanye was es­tab­lished af­ter Gold Fields un­bun­dled its age­ing South African oper­a­tions. It listed in 2013.

The NUM said on Mon­day that the min­ing in­dus­try had shed 80 000 jobs in the past five years.

Sibanye’s share price yes­ter­day gained 0.85 per­cent to close at R17.88 on the JSE.

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