ArcelorMittal workers die after building collapses on them during an explosion
Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has confirmed the death of three workers at an ArcelorMittal plant.
This came as a result of a building collapsing on top of them. This building reportedly collapsed after an explosion at 2am on Wednesday morning.
Search and rescue teams were dispatched to the plant, however, it was later confirmed that they have been found dead.
“The families have been waiting and anxiously hoping that their loved ones would be found alive. Unfortunately that was not to be. We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who have passed away,” Numsa said in statement.
The union also called on the Department of Employment and Labour to embark on a detailed and thorough investigation into the cause of this incident.
“We have a long painful history with ArcelorMittal and its brutal management which has demonstrated time and time again that Black Lives do not matter. This is the same management which previously dismissed a Numsa shop steward for exposing poor health and safety protocols in the company.”
The union expressed its gratitude to the men and women who worked tirelessly to ensure that these bodies were located.
“We are convinced that had it not been for the intense efforts of workers themselves, who risked their own lives and took the initiative searching through the massive pile of rubble to locate workers who were trapped under the building, we would not have been able to recover these bodies.”
On Wednesday, Numsa’s Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said ArcelorMittal had no rescue team on site after the explosion.
“Workers have volunteered and are risking their lives to go and try and retrieve workers from under the collapsed building.”
Hlubi-Majola said a meeting with the management was heated as the union made it clear that the company was not doing enough to rescue the employees.
“The company spoke about the workers as if they were already deceased and for us this was a great concern. Secondly, the management was reluctant to call for help outside as they felt that they had enough resources, but we found that this was not the case.”
Hlubi-Majola said they were worried that this would be another Lilly Mine situation and that management should treat the matter with the urgency they would apply if one of them was trapped.