Kumba Iron Ore tells union to brace for lay-offs

Low iron ore price could force company to retrench miners.

JOHANNESBURG – Kumba Iron Ore has informed South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) that it will issue lay-off notices this year if low prices persist for the steel-making ingredient, the union’s general secretary said on Wednesday.

“The price has put them in dire straights and there is a prospect of them issuing a Section 189 notice at Sishen mine,” NUM general secretary David Sipunzi told Reuters.

He was referring to the regulatory process South African employers must follow before they lay off staff.

“They have been trying to sensitise us to this possibility. If the price remains like this for a few months they will have no choice but to issue a Section 189,” he said. 

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