EFF to Gold One Mine: Reinstate those 400 fired mineworkers

Group of men behind a fence

Gold One Mine in Springs, Gauteng has dismissed more than 400 workers in the aftermath of two sit-ins last year. File Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 10, 2024

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The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng has strongly condemned what it termed the hasty, unwarranted, and unjustified dismissal of 401 workers and the suspension of another 140 employees by Gold One Mine, Modder East, in Gauteng.

“This action is seen as a senseless attempt to find an easy way out of a long-standing dispute,” said EFF Gauteng chairperson Nkululeko Dunga.

“This reckless and insensitive decision follows a series of protests and sit-ins by mine workers in disputes related to recognition rights for AMCU (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) and the setting aside of a closed-shop agreement signed between NUM and the company, aimed at preventing other unions from representing workers.”

The aggrieved miners staged a sit-in in October, followed by another sit-in in December. The actions were also described as hostage situations by police, the mine, and the NUM.

“Gold One Mine, like many other mining companies, continues to display arrogance because it enjoys excessive authority over workers and is almost always unregulated by the government,” said Dunga.

“In their pursuit of profit maximisation, sometimes with the aid of readily willing labour unions and the collaborative ANC government, these companies oppress and exploit workers, treating them as providers of cheap and easily disposable labour.”

Gold One Mine in Springs, Gauteng has dismissed more than 400 workers in the aftermath of two sit-ins last year. File Picture: Itumeleng English / Independent Newspapers

On Tuesday, IOL reported that Gold One Mine in Springs, Ekurhuleni, insists it had no option but to dismiss the more than 400 employees who took part in two underground sit-ins in October and December last year.

Earlier this week, the NUM vowed that it will appeal and challenge the dismissal of the 401 mineworkers.

Gold One Mine’s head of legal, Ziyaad Hassam said that given the miners’ actions during the sit-ins last year, dismissal was an appropriate sanction.

“It doesn’t give us any satisfaction to relieve anybody of their job. We, at all times want to work with employees in a constructive way to address any issues or challenges that they face,” Hassam said.

“The situations as they unfolded, both in October and in December, contravened our code of conduct in several ways.

“A lot of it would bring criminal charges as well, and they were also in violation of two clear interdicts preventing any illegal strike action from taking place. Unfortunately, those actions left us with little choice but dismissal as an appropriate sanction.”

Gold One Mine in Springs, Gauteng has dismissed more than 400 workers in the aftermath of two sit-ins last year. File Picture: Itumeleng English / Independent Newspapers

The EFF said it condemns these “illegal and undemocratic dismissals” and suspensions of workers.

“Not only do workers have the right to organise themselves and associate with a union of their choosing, but they also have the right to be treated fairly even when disciplinary measures are instituted,” Dunga said.

“Gold One Mine has no right to dismiss workers without taking them through a disciplinary process. In light of the prevailing economic conditions characterised by poverty, underemployment, and unemployment, the dismissal of such a significant number of workers over rights of recognition dispute is extremely unacceptable and should not be allowed.”

The EFF is calling for the “reinstatement of these men and women who bear the responsibility to support their families”.

“We call on Gold One and all other parties involved to find a solution that does not involve the expulsion and relegation of over 400 breadwinners in the face of a desperate economic situation in the country.

“The EFF leadership will also approach all affected parties to find an agreeable solution to the matter,” Dunga said.

IOL