The Witkop Fluorspar Mine outside Zeerust in the Northwest plans to retrench 220 of 225 employees before the end of the year, the trade union Solidarity said today. Some 38 members of Solidarity will be affected by the retrenchments.
Last week in an article 189 retrenchment notice to the trade union, the mining company Fluormin announced that it plans to close its Witkop Fluorspar Mine. The company said that the mine is no longer profitable enough in the current economic climate and must of necessity close its doors. The mine aims to complete the process before 14 December 2012.
According to Moira-Marie Kloppers, spokesperson for Solidarity, the mine alleges that, after various attempts to lower its operating costs, it came to the conclusion that a large-scale retrenchment process was the only way out. The mine has already announced that all production will be stopped for the duration of the consultations about the retrenchments. ‘When Solidarity starts consulting with employers about possible retrenchments, we always look for alternatives to retrenchments first. In this case it seems that there are few alternatives available. In the consultation process we will therefore focus on negotiating the best possible severance packages and assisting our members as much as possible so that they get back on their feet as soon as possible. Employees will face a sombre festive season,' Kloppers said.
In 2009, when the mine was still managed by Sallies, Solidarity also received an article 189 retrenchment notice. However, Witkop opened its doors again in February 2011. From 2009 to 2011 many employees were already retrenched at the mine. At the consultation on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 the trade union will discuss, among other things, the possibility of severance packages with the management of the mine.
Fluorspar has various industrial applications.