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Gold One dismisses 58% of Modder East workforce


Gold One International Ltd said it had dismissed 58% of the workforce at its flagship Modder East mine in South Africa, after strike action at the property was declared illegal last week.

The company said the strike began on June 3, after the Professional Transport Allied Workers Union (PTAWU) gave notification that part of the workforce would down tools in a dispute over wages.

Gold One convinced a court to interdict the strike, arguing that PTAWU was not the mine’s recognised union under South Africa labour law as it represent only 30% of the total workforce.

On Monday, the company said it had entered negotiations with the mine’s majority union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), allowing the NUM to make representations against the prospect of summary dismissal. The latest decision, which has removed 1,035 employees from the workforce, suggests that the issue may not have been resolved.

Gold One, which earlier this year paid US$250 million to acquire gold and uranium producer Rand Uranium Inc, said “In all cases, there were insufficient mitigating factors against the sanction of dismissal. Contingencies remain in place to ensure that the operation remains profitable during this time. Limited mining and milling operations are continuing and surface stockpile sources are being processed.”

The strike is the latest this year to reveal conflict between South Africa’s dominant NUM and smaller unions competing for mineworker membership, after major strikes at Impala Platinum Holding Ltd’s Rustenberg operations revealed conflict between the NUM and the expanding Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

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