AURORA Empowerment Systems, the broad-based black economic empowerment specialist investment company, sank deeper into trouble yesterday, with mineworkers at its Orkney operations outside Klerksdorp also downing tools until their March wages are paid.
This is the second mine at which Aurora is facing difficulties after workers at the company's Grootvlei mine on the East Rand also vowed not to return to work until their outstanding pay is received.
Aurora last week promised to pay Grootvlei mineworkers their wages for February but reneged on the deal that would have seen workers return to their stations by Monday this week.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) yesterday said Orkney's employees, like the ones at Grootvlei, have vowed to return to work only once they have received their wages.
"Our workers downed tools a while ago in protest for their wages. It is almost two weeks that we have not been working here," said Maja Mphahlele, the NUM's regional coordinator in Matlosana.
Meanwhile, workers at Grootvlei were still waiting for their outstanding payments as agreed at another meeting on Monday.
The NUM said Aurora had again committed itself to paying workers who hadnot been paid and those that had not been paid in full.
"But given Aurora's record of not doing as it says, it remains to be seen whether indeed Grootvlei workers will be paid by close of business today," the NUM said.
The union later sent a statement refuting claims of workers returning to work at Grootvlei.
"Workers have vowed to leave the company in droves once they have received their wages," said Frasy Namanyana, NUM chairperson at Aurora East Rand.
"The NUM regrets the propaganda that the company has embarked on in an attempt to send 'correct' messages to investors. We reject the notion that there is an agreement to go back to work as nonsense," Namanyana said.
A meeting was scheduled between Aurora and the NUM's regional leadership representing Orkney workers in Matlosana yesterday afternoon.
Mphahlele said the union's main concern was that its members were not paid, and "until such time they are paid their March salaries, they will not go back to work". - I-Net Bridge and Staff Reporter