Blyvoor situation has wider ramificationsWhile UASA is preparing for the consultation process to minimise the negative effects of the pending retrenchment of approximately 500 employees, we are also involved in a battle to keep the electricity supply to their homes going in the face of ESKOM threatening to cut the electricity supply to the mine.
In July 2011, Blyvoor applied for a business rescue in terms of section 6 of the Companies Act. Meanwhile, ESKOM raised its tariff by 30% in line with their so-called "winter tariff".
Blyvoor requested a concession based on the financial position of the mine but ESKOM refused. As a last resort Blyvoor applied to the court for relief but in the interim ESKOM placed them on terms that if they do not pay, their the electricity supply will be cut. Due to the fact that the Blyvoor residential area receives its electricity from the mine and not from the Merofeng Council, the employees, with the assistance of UASA and the mine applied to the court to order ESKOM to refrain from cutting the electricity supply. This legal battle is ongoing.
As a result of contingency plans implemented by the Rescue Practitioner appointed at the mine, a break-even situation could be attained, but with the ESKOM situation, the mine is still in a loss-making situation, hence the section 189 and contemplated retrenchment of 500 employees.
These are to include:
- Production Employees: 300
- Reef Pickers: 100
- Engineering: 90
- Management: 10
UASA will fight tooth and nail to save the jobs of our affected members. Management is proposing voluntary separation as a first step to minimise the number of affected employees, but we will, as a first step, want to test the information that led them to the decision of retrenchment in the first place.
In the current economic climate, we cannot allow our members to go unemployed, simply because it will be extremely tough to find alternative employment. UASA is convinced that it will be able to influence the process that could see the number of employees contemplated reduced drastically.