Impala Platinum’s Royal Bafokeng Mine returns to full operations

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Impala Platinum’s Royal Bafokeng Mine in the North West Province has returned to full operations following a labour dispute that saw 2 000 workers stage a sit-in and the downing of tools at the platinum mine.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was roped in to help resolve the impasse over pension fund payouts, taxing of bonuses and profit share incentives in the Employee Share Ownership scheme. The settlement will see workers get their compensation from the scheme in February and those dismissed, reinstated with a warning.

Implats accounts for about 20% of global primary platinum group metals output every year and is said to oversee about 70,000 employees across South Africa, Zimbabwe and Canada.

The Royal Bafokeng Impala mine experienced disruptions on its shafts in December last year which led to a rocky start to the year in operations.

This, as members of the National Union of Mineworkers staged demonstrations, calling for, amongst others, the mine to pay them monies contributed to the company’s 2022 Employee Share Ownership scheme. They managed to secure that payment which will kick in, in February.

“The company has agreed that it is going to pay back that outstanding esop scheme money which belongs to the scheme. The payment will be effected during the first week of February 2024. The management has also agreed that the 38 suspended miners, those suspensions have been lifted with the workers receiving a written warning. The condition is that all employees return to work with immediate effect,” says Livhuwani Mammburu, NUM Spokesperson.

Their dispute over the R104 million Employee Share Ownership scheme sat before the CCMA, with the Department of Employment and Labour helping to break the impasse.

“All parties were in agreement in terms of identifying the issues and agreeing that they’ve got a plan to engage to see how they can get resolutions at this matter. We are confident that they will find each other, and we also discussed other ideas on how best to resolve issues of this nature with the kind of leadership that is necessary from all parties to ensure there is no leadership vacuum and that the enabling environment created by our legislative framework is used to resolve issues of this nature,” says Lumko Mtimde, from Department of Employment and Labour.

The Impala Platinum Group says it is looking to put the business back on the front foot in an effort to save as many jobs as possible in the prevailing low metal price environment.

Video: Impala Bafokeng Platinum withdraws 38 suspension notices

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Source: SABC News (