Gold One Mine in Springs, Ekurhuleni, insists it had no option but to dismiss more than 400 employees who allegedly took part in two underground sit-ins in October and December last year.
IOL reported on Monday that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has vowed that it will appeal and challenge the dismissal of the 401 mineworkers.
On Tuesday morning, Gold One Mine’s head of legal, Ziyaad Hassam told broadcaster broadcaster Newzroom Afrika 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, that 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.”
The initial sit-in, in October, was sparked by miners’ demands for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) to be recognised as a representative at the mine in Springs.
Hassam said the sit-in degenerated into a hostage situation underground.
“That process (to recognise Amcu as a union at the mine) had been on the go for several months prior to that. Unfortunately, the roadmap towards ending a close-shop agreement (with NUM) and recognition of the new union cannot happen overnight,” Hassam said.
“That process was under way and we had urged the employees to respect the court process, and that if Amcu had met the required threshold, there would be no obstacles from the mine in terms of welcoming Amcu as a union,” he said.
The mineworkers were unhappy with the legal processes and they “took matters into their own hands”, according to Hassam.
The National Union of Mineworkers, speaking The Star newspaper, has also confirmed news of the dismissal of mineworkers.
NUM spokesperson, Livhuwani Mammburu said 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.