World Economy

More S. Africans Lose Jobs

More S. Africans Lose JobsMore S. Africans Lose Jobs

Lonmin, the world´s third largest platinum producer, said it was set to cut 6,000 jobs in South Africa due to falling prices and high costs, signaling further trouble for the country´s fragile economy.

The cutbacks represent a large reduction in Lonmin´s workforce, which employs 28,000 staff as well as 9,000 contractors, and will add to South Africa´s dire unemployment woes, AFP reported.

Lonmin, which owns the Marikana mine in South Africa where 34 workers were shot dead by police during a wildcat strike in 2012, is likely to face a fierce battle with unions over the lay-offs.

 “This is a bloodbath of job losses in the mining industry. It is a tragedy,” the National Union of Mineworkers said in a statement. “We are going to fight against any job losses. It is very painful to see. The high number of retrenchments will contribute to the high unemployment rate in South Africa.”

Unemployment hit 26% in the first quarter of 2015, the highest level in 11 years, while youth employment is reported at over 50%.

The South African Reserve Bank on Thursday revised growth forecasts down to 2% in 2015 and 2.1% in 2016–far below levels needed to tackle the jobs crisis.

The government said no redundancies could be made before it held consultations with Lonmin, and after completion of a legal process.

“The minister´s objective is to see to it that the industry creates and preserves jobs,” Mahlodi Muofhe, spokesman for mineral resources ministry, told AFP.”When people are retrenched, it must be the last resort available. It´s not as easy as people waking up saying because of the volatility of the market we are retrenching workers.”