Katleho Morapela
2 minute read
16 Aug 2019
6:20 am

NUM rejects wage cuts as plan to save Kimberley Ekapa Mine

Katleho Morapela

Mine management confirmed all reductions would be reimbursed if the new business model was successful.

Picture is for illustrative purposes.

The Kimberley Ekapa Mine in the Northern Cape has come up with a new plan, which includes a 12.5% salary cut for all employees, in a bid to save the mine from closure.

The mine had announced that an alternative business model had to be implemented immediately or the company might be forced to close as it had become economically unsustainable and non-viable as a result of the drop in the world market price for rough diamonds.

The mine initially requested all employees take a 25% salary cut for the next three months, which the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) rejected.

The union’s regional secretary Cornelius Manhe said the proposed 25% salary cut for all positions was unfair because it would have a hugely negative impact on low-level employees who were earning a minimal amount compared to those in managerial positions.

In its latest statement, the mine said it would now reduce salaries by 12.5% across the board for all staff members and that, among other short-term measures, were “interim changes in pension fund contributions, optimisation of overtime and bonus deferrals”.

Mine management confirmed all reductions would be reimbursed if the new business model was successful. The repayments would come from the earliest available distributable profits.

“The temporary measures will ensure the business remains operational and that our people retain an income, with the prospect of returning to their normal level of remuneration,” explained CEO of Ekapa Minerals, Jahn Hohne.

The union previously said it was concerned that approximately 2,000 employees at the mine might become jobless, but that it could not accept the 25% salary cuts.

Manhe confirmed that they still would not accept any salary cuts, including the newly proposed 12.5% reduction. He said they have engaged the management of the mine on several occasions regarding steps that could be taken to save the mine and avoid salary cuts.

He maintained they would not accept any salary cuts for their members and that the mine should seek other amicable solutions.

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