Solidarity questions if potential Kloof 4 layoffs are necessary

18th September 2023 By: Cameron Mackay - Creamer Media Senior Online Writer

Trade union Solidarity is concerned about the fate of almost 3 000 Sibanye-Stillwater mineworkers whose jobs may be in jeopardy in the future, as the mining company considers the future of its Kloof 4 shaft, in Carletonville, South Africa.

Sibanye last week announced that it would hold discussions with stakeholders to decide on the future of the gold mining operation, given the financial and operational challenges it is facing.

Nearly 2 400 Sibanye employees and 581 contract workers stand to lose their jobs should the operation be shut.

Solidarity deputy general secretary Riaan Visser says Sibanye’s excellent half-yearly results contradict the necessity for large-scale layoffs.

“Amid already challenging circumstances, these employees are faced with the uncertainty of whether they will still have a job by the end of this year.

“In its recent half-yearly results, however, Sibanye boasted about the turnaround in its gold production, which showed a 117% improvement over the first half of the [prior] year. It was said that production in this division met expectations and even yielded good profits,” Visser adds.

“A justifiable question to ask here is whether we are dealing with a gold giant that is gobbling up profits at the expense of employees,” Visser states.

Solidarity says it will actively participate in the consultation process with the aim of preventing layoffs, or at least limiting layoffs.

According to Visser, workers are already experiencing significant financial pressures that ultimately will affect the wider community.

“Research has shown that for every mineworker who is laid off, ten dependants are affected. This highlights how serious the consequences can be, and it provides enough reason why Solidarity does not treat any layoffs in the industry lightly,” Visser said.

The Section 189 process will be facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, and a date for the first round of the consultation process has yet to be confirmed.