JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Sibanye Gold on Thursday confirmed that 1 514 workers had been dismissed at its Cooke operations, near Westonaria, for not returning to work.
The workers had embarked on an illegal and unprotected strike following the company’s attempts to combat illegal mining, which was threatening Cooke’s sustainability.
Sibanye spokesperson James Wellsted told Mining Weekly Online that 739 of the dismissed workers were members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the majority union at the mine.
NUM said it was “outraged” and “highly shocked” by the dismissal, noting that its members were allegedly coerced and intimidated into participating in the illegal strike.
Wellsted noted that the mine was still closed, but that the situation was calm. Since the implementation of its anti-illegal miner programme, which included banning workers from taking food underground, 234 illegal miners have surfaced.
He added that around 15 kg a day had been lost in production since the strike started, totalling to around 120 kg.