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South Africa: Strike in gold mining

Since December 1, the workforce of the Village Main Reef gold mine in Matlosana, southwest of Johannesburg, has been on strike. The miners had noticed that allowances for funerals and severance payments for those laid off were not being paid. For weeks, the NUM union demanded information from management about the whereabouts of pension contributions to the pension fund, which continued to be deducted from the workers' salaries.

The owner, a Chinese company called Heaven sent Gold Group Company, finally promised to answer on Monday, Nov. 30. In reality, the gates were locked and blocked by heavily armed security forces. As a result, 850 workers, including quite a few women, drove in and decided not to come back up until they had an answer as to where their pension contributions had gone. The rest of the workforce showed solidarity outside the gate. The company claims it is up to date with payments. The miners' pension fund has 100,000 members and assets of 28 billion rand. The 850 miners involved in the sit-in have been suspended "for investigations into damage to property, endangering the health and safety of miners, and failure to follow instructions." Their pay is pending for now. The workers responded with a full strike, all miners are now above ground. The strike is "unprotected", i.e. an independent strike. Under recent South African law, a "protected" strike must be notified 30 days in advance to a government arbitration board and 48 hours in advance to the company. Village Main Reef recently laid off 2,000 miners.
Source: www.enca.com/news/mine-workers-stage-underground-sit-kopanang-gold-mine
Video with unionist: https://watch.thewest.com.au/show/392562