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Mining job-cut plans sidestepping rules, union says

The NUM says operators failed to follow rules to notify the mines minister.

Companies operating South African mines are sidestepping rules in plans for restructuring that may cut about 20 000 jobs, the industry’s biggest labour union said.

There’s “underlying deliberate circumvention of current regulatory framework,” the National Union of Mineworkers said in a statement. About 30 companies have issued notices that could ultimately lead to 20 000 job losses, it said Thursday.

Operators failed to follow rules to notify the minerals minister if 10% of a workforce or more than 500 people are likely to lose their jobs in a year, the NUM said.

The Chamber of Mines industry lobby denied the allegation.

Mine operators advise the ministry in line with the law, Elize Strydom, chief negotiator for the chamber, said in an e- mailed reply to questions. “The companies are very concerned about the sustainability of the industry, and with it jobs.”

The rule on advising the minister is set out in Section 52 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002.

Wage talks between unions and gold producers including AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Harmony Gold Mining Co. are expected to start this month. The NUM last month asked Minerals Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi to prevent 3 040 job cuts at Harmony Gold Mining Co.

©2015 Bloomberg News

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