JOHANNESBURG: THE South African National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) expressed “shock” and “sadness” at the closure of a mine in Mpumalanga.
The announcement by Glencore to close Optimum Coal Mine on Wednesday is widely believed will affect more than 1 500 workers.
“The decision to close down the operations has left our members shocked because they were not given any prior notice of closure before being invited by the management yesterday afternoon to a meeting at 5 pm.
“Our members were shocked to hear about the closure of Optimum Coal Mine in the media,” said Stanley Lebelo, NUM Highveld Regional Secretary.
Lebelo said multinational mining companies like Glencore did not care about the lives of mine workers but profits.
“They do not see the value in mine workers. They see the value in making profit and accumulate wealth for their filthy rich executives and shareholders.
“The logic of capital requires constant growth in order to accumulate wealth, but this growth is, unfortunately, dependent on exploiting mineworkers who still earn poverty wages.” Lebelo said NUM will “fight tooth and nail” to make sure that its members are not retrenched improperly.
“We remain fearless, committed, dedicated and unshaken in fighting for our members,” he said.
Glencore said the closure of Optimum was “a result of the ongoing financial hardship” arising from difficult market conditions and the continued deterioration in the export coal price.
It said it had informed the Department of Mineral Resources and relevant unions of the potential closures.
“Optimum will ensure that the employee engagement process is conducted in line with applicable labour legislation.
“Where vacancies exist, Optimum will explore options for redeployment across the Glencore South African coal operations as well as putting in place support services for affected employees and their families,” the firm said in a statement.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY