Retrenchments unfair, say unions

EXCUSES: Unions say companies are just looking for scapegoats. © Unknown.
EXCUSES: Unions say companies are just looking for scapegoats. © Unknown.

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

Trade unions have slammed companies in the past two weeks over "unjustified" retrenchments, all in the name of the global economic downturn.

Unions say most companies, especially those in the mining industry, are exaggerating the current economic climate as a way of reducing their workforce.

Lesiba Seshoka, national spokesman of the National Union of Mineworkers recently hit at Gold Fields and Anglo Platinum which have cited possibilities of retrenchments.

"These two companies are performing quite well, and the commodity prices are picking up quite fairly.

"This is just a sign that companies are trying hard to reduce workers' numbers by hiding behind the economic crisis."

He said that many companies, including Lonmin, "have been dogged by poor planning and workers are used in the process as scapegoats. The NUM is gearing for a fight to defend jobs".

This was reiterated by Jaco Kleynhans, spokesman for trade union Solidarity, who said big companies have set a bad precedent for smaller companies.

Solidarity recently received a retrenchment notice from Marlin Granite's Kudu Granite Operations near Rustenburg indicating plans to lay off up to 15percent of the total workforce.

According to Solidarity's statistics, about 35304 jobs have been lost in South Africa since the wake of the economic crisis.