Irony of Mpumalanga’s 44% unemployment lost on bleating Cosatu

At their foundation, trade unions are irrational, which is one of the reasons they have collapsed in most parts of the educated world. Trade union heaven comes once it achieves total monopolisation of labour. And when it get there, the triumphant union squeezes the highest possible price (ie wages) out of providers of capital. When trade unions become too powerful, they even get to change the rules – a nation’s laws – in their favour. As is the case in South Africa, which according to the World Economic Forum possesses the most worker friendly (business unfriendly) labour legislation of almost 150 countries surveyed. But when successful, trade unions sow the seeds of their destruction. When something costs more, we buy less of it. Eventually, we replace it. Especially businesses, which by their nature have have finite and scarce resources. So it is ironic to hear trade union grouping Cosatu bleating here about Mpumalanga province’s latest woes – two major companies on the brink of bankruptcy – which will worsen an already outrageous 44% unemployment rate. It’s akin to a profit gouging monopolist complaining its market has collapsed because consumers can no longer afford to pay its prices. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. Judging by the hyperbole, a malady which runs right to the top of current political leadership.  – Alec Hogg


From RDM Newswire

cosatuThe retrenchment of “breadwinners” at Glencore Optimum mine in Middelburg and Evraz Highveld Steel in Witbank would be catastrophic to both the provincial and national economy‚ Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Mpumalanga said on Tuesday.

The trade federation said it was “deeply concerned about the envisaged closures” of Optimum mine and Highveld Steel.

The two companies were the pillars of the economy of the Nkangala District‚ and by extension of Mpumalanga‚ Cosatu said.

“The unemployment rate in Mpumalanga presently stands at more than 28% and at 44‚4% in terms of the expanded definition of unemployment. In September 2014‚ Cosatu engaged the provincial department of finance‚ economic development and tourism to intervene in trying to save the jobs bloodbath but that process has not yet yielded any positive results.”

Cosatu said it would engage the office of the premier to intervene before August 10 and attempt to convince the Cosatu special central executive committee to be held on August 13-14 to pass a special declaration on the job losses.

The trade federation would also stage a Cosatu provincial executive committee members sit in at the Glencore Optimum mine on September 10‚ and engage the African National Congress leadership in the province to convene a Provincial Economic Summit as “a matter of extreme urgency”.

Highveld Steel‚ which employs 2‚224‚ has already issued a section 189 notice to retrench 50% of the employees‚ due to capital constraints and reduced domestic demand in steel‚ the federation said.

Glencore announced in January that its subsidiary‚ Optimum Coal Mines‚ was considering the closure of certain of its opencast operations‚ large portions of the coal processing plants‚ and associated support services at the mine potentially affecting 1‚067 employees.

“Through various engagements and company initiatives the impact has been significantly mitigated‚” the company said in a statement. “Optimum is now proceeding with the closure of these operations which will result in the retrenchment of approximately 380 employees. About 250 additional employees have opted for voluntary severance packages and 96 were redeployed to other Glencore operations.”

Source: RDM News Wire.

Glencore to cut 380 jobs at Optimum mine

JOHANNESBURG, July 22 (Reuters) – Global mining firm Glencore said on Wednesday it will cut about 380 jobs at its Optimum Coal subsidiary in South Africa after the closure of some operations at the mine.

The Swiss-based company said in January it was planning to close some of its South African coal mines and laying off workers due to falling prices.

The planned closure of Optimum Coal mines had initially put more than 1,000 jobs at risk, but the number was earlier this month reduced to between 600 and 700 jobs.

“Through various engagements and company initiatives the impact has been significantly mitigated. Optimum is now proceeding with the closure of these operations which will result in the retrenchment of approximately 380 employees,” Glencore said in a statement.

About 250 employees had opted for voluntary severance packages and 96 were redeployed to other operations, it said.

South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers said earlier this month it was considering taking legal action to prevent the job cuts.

The union had also accused Glencore of targeting female employees for retrenchments but the company on Wednesday dismissed the allegations as “baseless”.

Evraz could lay off 1 000 more workers

JOHANNESBURG, July 21 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Evraz Steel and Vanadium said on Tuesday it could lay off more than 1,000 workers after temporarily ceasing the production of steel due to depressed prices and competition from Chinese imports.

The unit of Evraz plc, which in April applied for protection from creditors to avoid being liquidated, sent notices to about half of its 2,242 workers saying their jobs could be terminated, trade union Solidarity said in a statement.

The steelmaker said on Monday it had pulled the plug on its South African iron operations, citing a lack of working capital. It said on Tuesday it planned to stop its steel plant.

The company said the closure of the iron and steel making operations was a temporary measure and production will resume once market conditions improve and the company finds funding for its operations.

Evraz said the domestic demand for its products fell due to a significant increase in imports from China.

The company has will now start a period of 60 days of consultation with trade unions over the proposed job cuts as per South African regulations.


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