Retrenchment planned at Lafarge Cement, South Africa

Retrenchment planned at Lafarge Cement, South Africa
Published: 02 September 2010

Lafarge Cement plans to lay off more than 13 per cent of its employees in Lichtenburg, North West, trade union Solidarity said on Wednesday.

It received a Section 189 notice on Tuesday, in which the retrenchments were announced, deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann said in a statement.

According to the notice, the company planned to lay off close to 80 of the 600 employees at the Lichtenburg plant.

Hermann said job losses in the construction industry had risen sharply during the first half of the year due to the completion of large infrastructure projects and decreased activity in residential construction.
More than 60 percent of the jobs lost in the formal sector during the first half of the year were in manufacturing and construction.

Employment in these two sectors dropped by 74,000 and 54,000 respectively in the second quarter of 2010.

"The company plans to start implementing the layoffs by the end of October and the first consultation round will take place on September 10."

Lafarge said in the context of the current depressed cement market, it was cutting costs.

"Lafarge Cement is considering the retrenchment of 80 employees at our Lichtenburg and Tswana lime quarry in the North West province," it said in a statement.

It did not consider retrenchment lightly and had already introduced various cost-saving measures to try and avoid it.

Various factors had contributed to the planned reduction in staff, including the global economic downturn, slower market demand, and the increase in input costs such as electricity, transport and labour.

Lafarge said the depressed market had led to the company running only two of its three kilns in Lichtenburg.