Home South African NUM to challenge dismissal of 401 miners over underground sit-in

NUM to challenge dismissal of 401 miners over underground sit-in

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The National Union of Mineworkers has indicated that it will appeal and challenge the dismissal of more than 400 mineworkers by the Gold One Mine in Springs, Ekurhuleni.

Gold One Mine in Springs, Ekurhuleni, which was affected by two underground sit-ins in October and December last year, has decided to cut ties with 401 miners. File picture: Itumeleng English, Independent Newspapers.

THE NATIONAL Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has indicated that it will appeal and challenge the dismissal of more than 400 mineworkers by the Gold One Mine in Springs, Ekurhuleni.

On Monday it was reported that the mine, which was affected by two underground sit-ins in October and December last year, had decided to cut ties with 401 miners.

NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu confirmed the news of the dismissal, saying the union is looking to challenge the decision by the mine.

However, Mammburu said the union will not be representing some of the miners who held others hostage and assaulted workers underground.

“We can confirm that Gold One Mine has dismissed 401 miners today. We intend to challenge this decision. However, we will not represent those instigators who held people hostage and assaulted others underground,” he said.

Mammburu said it was unfortunate that only NUM has been left to pick up the pieces after the rival union AMCU and its members were nowhere to be found when the miners needed them.

“All those who misled the workers are nowhere to be seen. Where are they when their members need them?” he asked.

The latest developments come a week after the mine dismissed 92 employees said to have been involved in the recent strikes at the mine.

At the time, Solidarity said it welcomed the dismissal of “villains” whose horrific behaviour towards co-workers has brought the mine into disrepute.

Solidarity wanted the mine to deal with the instigators, who during the recent five-day underground sit-in assaulted and abused their fellow employees.

“During the five days underground in December, several workers who were not involved in the strikers’ demands were seriously assaulted, threatened with being killed and also humiliated. Some workers were forced to strip naked and were then beaten with pickaxe handles and wooden planks. White workers were also eventually singled out for assault,” Solidarity said last week.

Mammburu said NUM will not celebrate the loss of jobs by so many miners, which is why it will be challenging their dismissals as a matter of urgency.

“We can’t celebrate so many miners being out of their jobs. However, like I said, as a responsible union, we will only represent those who were not part of the rogue elements who held others hostage and assaulted others underground. For those who committed crime, we want them to be arrested for their crimes as we did indicate that this was not a sit-in but a hostage situation that happened last year,” he said.

Last week, advocate Paul Mardon, deputy general secretary of strategy and sustainability at Solidarity, expressed satisfaction that decisive action has been taken against those responsible for the hostage incident. He acknowledged the efforts to hold the guilty parties accountable for their criminal behaviour. However, Mardon also noted concern, emphasising that the occurrence of a second sit-in strike within less than 50 days at the same mine raises ongoing red flags.

“We are grateful that action was indeed taken to make the guilty parties pay for their criminal behaviour. However, as this was the second sit-in strike in less than 50 days at the same mine, warning lights unfortunately are still flashing,” Mardon said.

Attempts to get comment from AMCU were unsuccessful at the time of publication.

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