File image: Reuters

Gold One International (GDO) has begun engaging contract labour as part of the process to normalise production at Modder East following the dismissal of more than half of the operations workforce due to an illegal strike.

The strike‚ organised by the Professional Transport Allied Workers Union (PTAWU)‚ began during the evening shift on 3 June‚ after which the company enforced a policy of `no work‚ no pay´ and obtained a Labour Court interdict on 4 June interdicting the illegal action.

Gold One´s disciplinary process was followed and the employees were dismissed on 11 June. The violence perpetrated by the dismissed employees was interdicted by the High Court on 13 June 2012.

The contingencies put in place by management during the first week of the strike have continued to ensure that Modder East operates profitably albeit at much lower production levels‚ the company said Tuesday.

With the controlled phasing in of contract labour‚ management expects production to return to pre-strike rates by the end of the September 2012.

As a result of the illegal strike action the company has suffered production losses for which it intends to pursue a compensation claim against PTAWU.

In addition‚ the company and private individuals also suffered damages to property as a result of violent protest action - perpetrated by the dismissed employees subsequent to the illegal strike – for which further legal action against PTAWU will be considered‚ it said.

Gold One is continuing to engage with the SA Police Services to resolve reported cases of intimidation against current employees at Modder East and additional company security personnel remain stationed at the operation.

On 26 June PTAWU referred an unfair dismissal dispute to the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in respect of the dismissal of the 1‚044 employees. The matter was scheduled for conciliation on 17 July but could not be conciliated and either party may refer the matter to the Labour Court.

Gold One President and CEO Neal Froneman said the company was focused on managing the short term impacts of the unprotected strike with a view to finding effective sustainable solutions for long term stability.

“The ability of the Modder East team to stand together and maintain profitable production levels demonstrates our strength in adversity‚” he added. - I-Net Bridge