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Mantashe says plan by Implats to cut 13 000 jobs is 'unethical and reckless'

Aug 03 2018 18:44
Sibongile Khumalo

Minerals Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has labelled as “unethical and reckless” the decision by Impala Platinum (Implats) [JSE:IMP]  to slash 13 000 jobs in a restructuring process aimed at boosting income.

Mantashe said on Friday afternoon that the surprise move by the world’s second-largest platinum miner came after the company snubbed his meeting with mining industry executives to discuss challenges facing the sector.

“That announcement undermines the challenges facing society. It’s unethical. It is wrong,” the minister told journalists at his office in Pretoria.

On Thursday, Implats announced that it would cut 13 000 jobs in a restructuring process in order to generate sufficient cash by 2021 from its Rustenburg operations.

“You cannot relegate the workers to just numbers, when you take such a decision you must first look at the available alternatives,” said Mantashe.

He accused Implats of not “appreciating the gravity of employment in the country".

"This week Statistics South Africa revealed that the country’s unemployment in the second quarter of 2018 increased from  from 26.7% to 27.2%.

Mantashe said it was “curious” that Implats did not attend his meeting, which he said was attended by over 35 industry players and executives.

“Why avoid an open engagement to talk about issues affecting the industry."

“We are waiting to have a discussion with them and after that we are going to engage with labour,” he said.

Announcing the decision on Thursday, Implats said it had little choice but to move forward with the restructuring process, if it were to generate sufficient cash by the 2021 financial year.

The plan also includes mining less platinum to "remove non-profitable platinum production from an over supplied market," and closing six of its 11 shafts.  The restructuring plan will take two years to implement.

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implats  |  gwede mantashe  |  mining  |  retrenchments
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