Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) will take its
concerns about potential job losses to the government at a meeting with Mineral
Resources Minister Susan Shabangu tomorrow.
The trade union is worried that job cuts may affect its 300
000-strong membership as the platinum sector is set to lose jobs in the next
This is due to the slow uptake of commodities in both Europe
and China, and expected further plunges in the price of these commodities.
Platinum, for example, was this week trading at a 52-week
low of $1 363.4 (R11 430) an ounce, down from boom-time prices of $2 000 in
In November 2010, the price rallied at $1 800.
“We will raise the issue of job losses with the minister,”
said Num president Senzeni Zokwana at a discussion forum in Johannesburg this
“With unemployment already high in this country, we cannot
afford any more job losses. We have to find a way of planning in the industry
that will protect workers and jobs.”
This week, the minister announced that she would meet with
mining industry stakeholders to examine options available to the battered
The industry is already reeling from weak demand, bruising
industrial action and rising costs.
Shabangu gathers the industry tomorrow following statistics
that emerged from the February mining indaba held in Cape Town.
They indicated that South Africa remained the richest nation
in terms of mineral reserves.
But mining contribution to the nation’s gross domestic
product is at the lowest it has been in 51 years and actual production hit a
50-year low in February.
“We are about to see a lot of suffering,” said Zokwana,
adding: “Solutions to the problem could lie in finding innovative ways in which
both the government and labour share the pain.”
Speaking to members of the media and a group of analysts
this week, Frans Baleni, Num general secretary, said: “We have noted the
decline in the price of platinum and are concerned that the bulk of job losses will
be in the platinum industry.
“This will have a negative impact on developmental projects
in the mining industry.”
Baleni said his trade union held the position that better
planning by mining companies during boom times would have prevented the looming
HeBaleni added that trouble in the platinum industry would
affect other sectors like the automobile industry.