Up to 571 jobs on the line as Wesizwe mulls restructuring of Bakubung

27th November 2023 By: Creamer Media Reporter

Up to 571 jobs on the line as Wesizwe mulls restructuring of Bakubung

Photo by: Creamer Media

Platinum group metals miner Wesizwe Platinum's share price on the JSE fell by more than 13% on November 27 after the company announced that its subsidiary Bakubung Minerals will start consultations with organised labour and other stakeholders regarding the possible restructuring of the Bakubung platinum mine (BPM) operations, in the North West province.

This comes as the board of directors have approved changes from a hybrid mining method to bord and pillar mining at BPM, which will result in a reduced number of employees being needed to establish and maintain the required production profile in the business plan.

The need to reduce headcount was compounded by the downturn in the mining industry, as well as the two community strikes in 2022 and this year, and the recent five-week unprotected strike by employees, which adversely affected the mine development progress.

Wesizwe says up to 571 employees could potentially be retrenched as part of the consultations to be held in terms of Section 189A of the Labour Relations Act.

Wesizwe states that, although it and affected stakeholders will consider measures and alternatives to avoid and mitigate possible retrenchments, the company's preliminary view is that "there simply do not appear to be any alternatives available".

". . . continuing with the status quo of the current headcount of 761 employees would not be reasonable and/or a viable alternative because it would not address the current state of Bakubung and the need to implement measures to improve efficiencies and to ensure that Bakubung is placed on the path of profitability and growth.

"As things stand, Bakubung has already stopped overtime and weekend work, did not renew contracts of mining contract services and fixed-term contracts of noncritical staff and placed a moratorium on recruitment of noncore and critical staff with the aim of reducing the bloated structure that causes inefficiencies," it points out.