VENTURES AFRICA – Workers at Harmony Gold‘s Kusasalethu mine are set to protest against retrenchments and a lock-out from hostels today, it was reported on Thursday morning.
This means the South African mining industry is facing yet another set of strike actions shortly after the one that started in Marikana in August last year ended recently.
The announcement by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) that it would retrench 14.000 workers and sell other mines has sparked threats of intensive labour actions through the mining industry.
Harmony Gold, South Africa’s third biggest gold miner, closed the mine gates on January 3.
At the time, workers were told that the mine was shut down until further notice. About 500 miners were denied access to the hostel. Many slept outside the gates.
The company closed its operations at the end of December, but said it would continue to pay the basic salaries of workers.
According to the company’s website about 5 200 employees would be affected if the mine closed permanently.
Harmony CEO Graham Briggs, warned in an open letter that role players had 60 days to save the mine.
The letter said murder, violence, intimidation and damage to mine property prompted the decision to suspend operations at the mine near Carletonville. He told Business Day that no company could operate in such an environment.
Unprotected labour action at the mine in October and December caused huge production losses.
The publication said the mine was expected to report a cash operating loss of 150 million rand for the December quarter and a negative cash flow of 252 million.