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Black Christmas for mineworkers

Dec 19 2016 16:52

Cape Town - Workers at Babrook Mine Operations are threatened with no pay for December, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said on Monday.

Babrook, which forms part of the Lily Mining operations, was under business rescue. However, this was done without consulting AMCU, which is the majority union, it said.

Joseph Mathunjwa, Amcu president, said in a statement that workers were only paid 15% of their November salary and are threatened with no pay for December.
"Over 780 workers are facing a bleak and black Christmas while the management of Lily mine will be feasting with their families."

130 mineworkers at Babrook were redeployed from the Lilly mine operations following the collapse of one of the shafts that left Pretty Mabuza, Solomon Nyarenda and Yvonne Mnisi buried alive.

It called for an urgent inquest into the Lily Mine disaster.

"It must investigate the negligence and irresponsibility of the mine management, which is resulting in thousands of workers being killed, injured or cast aside into abject poverty."

Amcu claimed that about 370 workers affected by the disaster at Lily Mine have not received wages for more than 9 months now.

"It is only through the provision of food hampers by Amcu and some NGOs that these workers have been able to survive."

The union took a swipe at mine management and the government.

"The bosses and the Department of Minerals take no responsibility or care for the workers who actually create the wealth for these mining corporations and for the state."

Amcu is accusing Babrook management of being in contravention of Section 52 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). It states that the holder of a mining right is required to give notice to the Mineral Resources Minister in the prescribed manner in terms of downscaling of operations.
"Putting operations under business rescue seems like a tactic by mining companies to avoid their social obligations. We note the same situation at Lace Diamond in the Free State where 354 workers are without wages following this diamond mine being placed under business rescue."
Amcu is demanding the immediate intervention of the Department of Mining to ensure that workers are paid in full their salaries for November and December.

"Furthermore, we demand that the company is kept operational and all its obligations are fully complied with. Failure to defend the jobs of these workers will be understood as an attack on all mineworkers and can likely lead to the destabilisation of the entire mining sector in this country."

The union lashed out at government through the Department of Minerals for not heeding their calls for help.

"This hostility of the state to Amcu is borne out by the case brought by the renegade Thebe Maswabi, a founding member of the Workers Association Union (WAU), who is suing [President Jacob] Zuma and other ministers for unpaid fees for setting up a rival union to Amcu."

According to documents filed in the high court, the WAU was set up with the direct support of the State Security Agency to spy and undermine Amcu.

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