numMining Weekly reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it is “disturbed and aggrieved” by China Africa Precious Metal’s (CAPM’s) issuance of a Section 189 notice for the retrenchment of 200 of the 301 employees at its Orkney gold mine, in the North West.

The NUM’s Matlosana regional secretary, Masibulele Naki, said the union disagreed with CAPM cutting jobs by 80% of their current workforce and was prepared to fight “tooth and nail” against the notice. The NUM also suggested that miners might have been exploited at the Orkney mine, noting that in 2018 the NUM’s members had gone on strike to protest against health and safety conditions at the mine as a result of risk assessments not being done. “Workers were forced to work in dangerous workplaces underground,” the union claimed. The NUM also maintained that CAPM’s “problem is temporary”. In an effort to remedy the need to retrench mineworkers, the NUM suggested that CAPM put all workers on rotational layoff during the period while CAPM fixed a winder headgear. This, NUM pointed out, would enable workers to earn at least 50% of their salaries. In addition, the NUM said that CAPM must apply for an employee relief scheme, similar to what has already been approved by the government for all companies struggling financially through the Covid-19 pandemic.

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