Gold One suspends mining at East Modder amid signs of renewed protest

GOLD One suspended mining operations at its Modder East facility in Springs on Thursday after threats of more protests, said BusinessLive.

The mine’s management initially recalled 50 night shift employees on Wednesday night after hearing of a plan to protest and stage a sit-in underground. “We recalled the employees and suspended operations until Thursday morning,” said Gold One’s head of legal Ziyad Hassam.

A few hours after the morning shift started on Thursday it was suspended, and all workers were brought to the surface, he said.

“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 told BusinessLive.

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.

On October 25, more than 500 miners returned to surface after being held underground for two days by the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU).

AMCU claims the miners underground are part of a sit-in to protest the lack of organisational rights despite having most the 1,800 East Modder employees as signed up members. The NUM says its members caught up in the incident are being held captive.

Hassam told BusinessLive his 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.