Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) plans to protest against De Beers Consolidated Mines’ decision to sell its Kimberley Mines.
De Beers last month announced that it has agreed to sell the mine to Ekapa Minerals, an investment consortium made up of Ekapa Mining and Petra Diamonds.
READ: De Beers ditches Kimberley diamonds
NUM claims it was not consulted on the move and plans to march on January 14.
“The NUM members at Kimberley Mines are extremely concerned that the sale of the Kimberley Mines was announced through the media and the NUM structures were never consulted.
“The NUM members will be voicing their anger, disappointment and sadness by the manner in which De Beers sold Kimberley Mines to Ekapa Mining & Petra Diamonds without consultation,” NUM said in a statement.
The union said the sale could see the fate of about 600 employees in limbo.
“We believe that De Beers has a hidden agenda since it is only known for its bad legacy of extracting our country’s minerals and exploiting our people... There is nothing to write home about in terms of De Beers’ corporate social responsibility, beneficiation, providing and facilitating a secondary economy, let alone transforming the industry,” the union said.
NUM wants De Beers to put the sale on hold “and restart the consultation process which entails, among others, compliance with Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act as a whole, ensuring the sustainable employment and job security of our members, exhausting other options instead of setting employees up for possible downward variation of the conditions of employment”.
When the company announced the sale early last month, chairperson Barend Petersen commented on some of the concerns raised by NUM. For instance, he said the company’s objective was to sustain operations, protect jobs and grow empowered participation in South Africa’s diamond industry.
“A rigorous, independently-advised process enabled De Beers to select a consortium with not only the right mining and financial credentials, but also a commitment to meet future social and labour plans and environmental obligations,” Petersen said.
De Beers was not immediately available on Tuesday to comment on the specific measures the company has taken to consult its stakeholders on the fate of the mine.