Solidarity yesterday welcomed the announcement by Aquarius Platinum that 75% of the estimated 1,500 employees at the company’s No 4 shaft at Marikana, which was shut down earlier this month, have been placed with other mining groups. The union was encouraged that its request for the process to be managed by means of a comprehensive social plan and for employees to be assisted in applying for jobs at other mining groups had been heeded.
TEXT OF SOLIDARITY PRESS RELEASE
4 July 2012
Aquarius Platinum: Retrenchments limited following shutdown
Trade union Solidarity welcomed mining group Aquarius Platinum’s announcement that 75% of the estimated 1 500 employees at its No 4 shaft at Marikana, which was shut down earlier this month, have been placed with other mining groups.
According to Louis Pretorius, spokesperson for Solidarity, it is encouraging that Aquarius Platinum heeded Solidarity’s request that the mining group manage the process by means of a comprehensive social plan and assist employees in applying for jobs at other mining groups.
“Aquarius Platinum, the owner of the shaft in question, and Murray & Roberts, the principal mining contractor who managed the labour-related aspects of the business, agreed to end their contract. Aquarius will be the owner and operator of its mines from now on. The employees who were formerly in the employ of Murray & Roberts at Aquarius Platinum’s No 4 shaft will be transferred to Aquarius and deployed at other mining groups in a process that is in keeping with section 197 of the Labour Relations Act.” Pretorius said that though there is still uncertainty over the fate of the estimated 1 500 employees who have been left unemployed following the closure of Aquarius’s Everest mine near Lydenburg, Solidarity is hoping for a favourable outcome there as in the case of Marikana.
Solidarity, however, expressed concern over Aquarius Chief Executive Stuart Murray’s call on other mining groups to follow the company’s example and to close down mines in order to “cut unnecessary production which depresses the industry”. According to Pretorius, the closure of more platinum mines would lead to further job losses. “Shutting down other platinum mines will not necessarily have a favourable outcome as in Marikana’s case. Care and maintenance crews may stay on at the mines following their closure, but the rest of the employees would lose their jobs.”
Louis Pretorius, Spokesperson: Solidarity, Cell: 082 560 9570
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