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Press Statement, 07 April 2021
NUM CARLETONVILLE REGION APPEALS FOR GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION AS WORKERS/EMPLOYER TENSION GROWS HIGH AT BLYVOOR GOLD MINE
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Carletonville Region is appealing for the government’s immediate intervention around Blyvoor Gold Mine as labour and social unrest are erupting, likely to escalate into a serious bloodbath.
Tension is building up between workers and the company’s management over workers’ right to freedom of association. Workers are being intimidated, threatened with violence as they are refusing to join the so-called “Blyvoor Workers Union”, the company’s union of choice.
Around 60 workers have been dismissed so far for launching a strike, protesting against the company’s attitude towards NUM members. Workers have expressed fear for their lives as some elements were building up that might lead workers to indulge in a complete wildcat strike.
"We had a meeting with the worker's committee yesterday (Tuesday) discussing measures on how to end the stay away. The company is not cooperating, instead, it is intimidating workers. The committee reported to us that they were served with SMSes notifying them that they are being dismissed from the company.
The Blyvoor management is deliberately provoking our members. The worker's committee has requested us to ask for an intervention from the Department of Mineral Resources so that their plight could be heard”, said Zimisele Ponti, NUM Carletonville Regional Chairperson.
In the workplace, the right to freedom of association is essentially an “enabling” right that entitles workers to form and join workers' organisations of their own choice to promote common organisational interests.
Since the beginning of this year, many workers at Blyvoor Gold Mine have been intimidated, assaulted and prevented from reporting to work, and they were coerced to join a union that they do not like.
"This is uncalled for and we are so saddened that after a long-fought struggle against such kind of barbaric actions, we are seeing the union-bashing behaviour rearing its ugly head once again. We are more than prepared to fight Blyvoor Mine with all resources at our disposal”, said Ponti.
The NUM is issuing a warning to the Blyvoor mine management to desist from entering into union politics. They must refrain from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organising, forming or joining a trade union of choice.
For more information, please contact:
Zimisele Ponti, NUM Carltonville Regional Chairperson, 076 9811723
The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257