20 Dec

UASA Media Release: 20 December 2023

Statement by Abigail Moyo, spokesperson of the trade union UASA:

In the past few years, retrenchments have, especially during and after COVID-19, reshaped the workforce and livelihoods of workers across the country. Thousands of jobs were lost this year alone, while further job cuts are believed to be a possibility in the New Year.

UASA Divisional Manager (Minerals) Nico van Rooyen says within the mining sector, it was not just underground workers who were affected but the entire workforce.

“When an employer announces large scale retrenchments, they are not allowed to dismiss any affected employees for 60 days from the date the notice was served. You must also note that an employer must follow a fair procedure and all the requirements stated in Section 189 and 189A (incase of large scale retrenchments) of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) before you can be retrenched,” said Van Rooyen.

Understanding your rights in the workplace makes it easier to fight retrenchment. If you belong to a trade union and the union believes that an employer is not following the correct procedure, a written application may be brought to the Labour Court to make an order against the employer where the Labour Court has the power to compel the employer to:

• comply with a fair procedure

• not dismiss an employee before complying with fair procedure

• reinstate any employees who have since been dismissed until the employer has complied with a fair procedure

• pay compensation if any of the above orders are not seen to be appropriate

UASA encourages all workers to revisit statutory labour bodies, including the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), to learn and understand their rights in the workplace.

Whether you are already retrenched or about to be, bodies such as the CCMA or the Labour Court exist to protect you as a worker and ensure that you are not unfairly dismissed from your job. UASA encourages non-union workers to consider joining a labour union and be eligible for union benefits including labour representation and collective bargaining among others.

Health and safety

Health and safety challenges in the mining industry remain a considerable threat to the livelihood of workers. UASA believes that a world of work where injuries and fatalities are minimised or don’t occur at all is highly possible, and it is something that we must all strive for.

“This year alone, the South African Mines Reportable Accidents Statistical System (SAMRASS) reported that the total number of fatalities across the mining sector in all provinces was 53, while injuries amounted to 1 858,” says Van Rooyen – (SAMRASS last update on 30 November 2023).

“As workers have a right to a safe working environment, UASA continues to advocate for a zero-harm initiative led by the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC). UASA members trust and rely on the union to step in and address challenges within the mining sector while ensuring that the rights and safety of all workers are observed accordingly.”

In supporting industry partners, stakeholders and organised labour, Van Rooyen explained that the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) is part of modern-day industrialisation, which means advanced machinery and operating systems.

He encouraged organisations to invest in researching efficient ways to incorporate 4IR in their workplaces, training and upskilling mine workers to understand modern-day machinery and its benefits to the work environment.

For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at 065 170 0162.




















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