Gold One halts Modder East operations after protest threats
Gold One suspended mining operations at its Modder East facility in Springs, Ekurhuleni, on Thursday after threats of more protests.
The mine’s management initially recalled 50 night shift employees on Wednesday night after hearing of a plan to protest and stage a sit-in underground.
“We recalled the employees and suspended operations until Thursday morning,” said Gold One’s head of legal Ziyad Hassam.
A few hours after the morning shift started on Thursday it was suspended, and all workers were brought to the surface, he said.
“We have now suspended operations until Monday at the earliest. The aim is to stabilise and normalise the situation at the mine before we can call people back to work in a safe manner,” said Hassam.
Hassam said the cause of the protest was about organisational rights at the mine, where the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have a closed-shop agreement with the company since 2012.
Two weeks ago, hundreds of employees refused to come to ground for nearly three days in a sit-in protest action against the company’s failure to recognise the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union. Amcu wants organisational rights at the mine.
After the suspension of the protest two weeks ago, Amcu said no ballots had been conducted since 2012 to confirm that union members still wished to be part of the closed-shop agreement.
On the balloting process, Hassam said the closed-shop agreement was in place for years, and it was only a few months ago that Amcu said it may have about 1,800 employees at the mine.
Hassam said the company received a petition from employees allegedly signalling their intent to end the closed-shop agreement.
“We have passed that on to NUM. As our current partner in the closed-shop agreement, the responsibility lies with them to provide us with a plan and timing for when they would be prepared to hold a ballot. We have not agreed on a time for the ballot.”
Hassam said Amcu was being kept abreast of these developments.
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