29 January, 2015Mining giant Glencore has announced that they are to close the Optimum Coal Mine in Mpumalanga. Around 1,500 employees and contractors would be affected by the decision.
The closure proposed by the mining giant would affect approximately 1,000 permanent employees and 500 contractors.
“The decision to close down the operations has left our members shocked as they were not given any prior notice of closure before being invited by the management yesterday afternoon to a meeting at 5 pm”, says Stanley Lebelo, NUM Highveld Regional Secretary.
Glencore cites difficult market conditions and a continued deterioration in the export coal price as reasons to close the mine.
NUM argues that the mining industry needs to move from putting profits first to emphasizing human development.
Stanley Lebelo continues:
“This is a catastrophe for our members and we request Glencore management to reverse this unfortunate decision and engage with its employees.
“The NUM will fight tooth and nail to make sure that its members are not retrenched cheaply.”
IndustriALL Global Union Director if Mining, Glen Mpufane, calls upon Glencore to reconsider and negotiate with the NUM to find alternative options to retrenchment:
“We are as shocked as the NUM that Glencore has decided to lay off about 1,000 jobs at its Optimum coal operations in Mpumalanga. It is sad that mineworkers are once again sacrificial lambs in the face of global market conditions, but are not invited to celebrate in booms times.”