Sun Sep 24 10:27:30 SAST 2017

Implats won't reinstate but rehire workers

By Sapa | 2012-02-16 08:39:32.0

A "SIZEABLE number" of fired workers at Implats have been rehired despite reports of intimidation and unhappiness, the National Union of Mineworkers said yesterday.

"Implats has been able to rehire a sizeable number of workers and that is continuing," spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said.

"There are some people who are not our members who say they don't want to be rehired but reinstated.

"There is no obligation for Implats, under South African law, to reinstate them because they were involved in illegal strike action.

"(They) must understand that when you are being dismissed as a result of an illegal strike you have no bargaining powers that you would have if you were still at work."

He said the majority of NUM members had heeded the call to return to work, but there had been a problem with intimidation.

The NUM and Implats met on Friday to try to resolve the situation and agreed to work together to encourage dismissed workers to reapply for their positions.

Implats fired about 17200 workers for embarking on an illegal strike last month. The dispute started on January 12 when rock drill operators downed tools because they were unhappy that miners had received a retention bonus and they had not. Seshoka said the retention bonus given to miners was in an effort to minimise the high staff turnover.

Implats said it would rehire workers who reapplied for their positions, but would not reinstate them.

This meant they could lose out on some of the benefits to which they had been entitled before.

The union would negotiate to have the benefits reinstated once workers returned to work, Seshoka said.

Implats said it had not discussed reinstating benefits with the NUM.

"Despite recent press statements made by the NUM, there have been no discussions with the NUM on the retention of the dismissed employees' old benefits and conditions of employment," Implats said.

It said the recruitment process started on February 7 with the rock drill operators.

"All other categories of dismissed employees are now able to reapply for their jobs and it is expected production will resume soon.

"Recruitment will now also be extended to include new employees," the miner said.

Implats Rustenburg was losing 3000 platinum ounces a day, which amounted to R65-million in lost revenue a day at current platinum prices.