Lonmin asks staff to take leave to save costs

Platinum giant Lonmin has asked its non-striking staff to take leave to cut costs and help the company survive, a spokeswoman said on Thursday (27/03/2014).

“They have been asked to take some of their accumulated leave at this time,” Sue Vey told Sapa.

“This is to safeguard the business, so if they can take leave, this would help the survival of the business.”

A company memorandum regarding this was sent out to workers on Tuesday.

“People have started taking leave… It’s basically for cost-cutting measures across the company.”

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), and Impala Platinum (Implats) downed tools on January 23 to push for a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

They rejected a wage offer of an up to nine percent increase.

The companies, in turn, rejected Amcu’s revised demand that the R12,500 could be achieved over four years.

Talks to resolve the strike are being mediated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration.

Earlier this week, mining bosses said the strike had caused irreparable harm, as R10 billion in revenue had already been lost.

“The extended strike in the platinum belt is unprecedented, and at a stage where some of its impacts are becoming irreparable,” a joint statement by the CEOs of Implats, Amplats and Lonmin said.

“These impacts are not only on the companies, but also on employees, local businesses, suppliers, and on communities. The financial cost -now close to R10bn in revenue lost, and around R4.4bn in earnings lost to employees – does not tell the full story.”

Amplats CEO Chris Griffith, Implats CEO Terence Goodlace, and Lonmin CEO Ben Magara said mines and shafts were becoming unviable, people were hungry, children were not going to school, businesses were closing, and crime in the platinum belt was increasing. – Sapa

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