Gold One suspends operations at Modder East plant
Operations were suspended at Gold One’s Modder East facility in Springs, Ekurhuleni, on Thursday morning after threats of a protest.
Management initially recalled 50 employees who had gone for the night shift on Wednesday evening, after hearing there was a plan to protest and stage a sit-in underground.
“We recalled the employees and suspended operations until Thursday morning,” Gold One’s head of legal Ziyad Hassam said.
He said the morning shift workers started their shift underground on Thursday, but a few hours into the shift management took the decision to bring everybody back up to surface.
“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,” Hassam said.
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). Amcu seeks 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 had been in place for years and it was only a few months ago that Amcu said they believed they have 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.
“We would like this process to be run as peacefully as possible. We cannot hold the ballot under the current climate where there is intimidation and threats of violence between rival unions.”
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