The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says Bokoni Platinum mine did not consult with the union about the retrenchments of more than 2 600 permanent workers.
The Limpopo mine has been placed on a two-year care and maintenance programme as it battles to recover financial losses.
The mine says that it is not shutting down completely and hopes to resume operations after the two-year break.
NUM spokersperson Livhuwani Mammburu says the union was not told about the mine's financial difficulties.
He says the retrenchment number excludes contractors and could be much higher.
It's difficult to say [if the retrenchments were avoidable] because we were never consulted. We were just issued with Section 189 to retrench 2 651 permanent employees. This number could go even higher.— Livhuwani Mammburu, NUM national spokersperson
Mammburu says NUM was only served with a Section 189 notice which permits employers to dismiss employees for operational requirements, in terms of the Labour Relations Act.
He says Bokoni Platinum never spoke with the union, despite having the opportunity to do so at a forum.
NUM is concerned that mining companies are retrenching workers without government intervention from the Department of Mineral Resources.
The problem is the weak regulation of the Department of Mineral Resources and its head Minister Mosebenzi Zwane - he's not doing anything for the mining industry in South Africa.— Livhuwani Mammburu, NUM national spokersperson
He explains that NUM will now have to go into a 60-day consultation period with Bokoni Platinum, until 21 September, to plan a way forward.
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