Harmony workers resurface after illegal sit-in at Kusasalethu mine near Carletonville
HARMONY Gold said on Friday it had safely returned to the surface all employees who had participated in an illegal underground sit-in at the Kusasalethu mine near Carletonville.
On Thursday, about 1 700 employees participated in an illegal sit-in at the company’s Kusasalethu mine.
The mineworkers chose not to return to the surface at the end of the morning shift on Wednesday afternoon.
Formal demands from the workers were received only late on Thursday. These included the payment of a special bonus, the removal of the general manager and an assurance that disciplinary action against them would not be pursued.
After several hours of negotiations, 18 employees were evacuated to the surface as a result of ill-health. Some miners were reported to have displayed symptoms of severe fatigue and
We are pleased a resolution has been reached and all employees returned to the surface safely
dehydration, and were treated by Harmony’s medical personnel.
Their families were camping outside the mine trying to urge them to end their illegal sit-in.
Harmony Gold said all employees returned to the surface shortly before midnight on Thursday after talks between management and union leadership.
The gold mine said a thorough independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the illegal sit-in, which lasted nearly 48 hours, would be conducted and production at the mine was to proceed over the weekend.
Harmony’s chief executive Peter Steenkamp said: “We are pleased a resolution has been reached and all our employees have returned to the surface safely.”
The National Union of Mineworkers, the leading union in the gold sector, had said on Thursday it was also in the dark about the Kusasalethu workers’ demands but was investigating the matter. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said it took part in the discussions with mine management. Amcu said commitments to pay bonuses were made to the workers.
Harmony’s chief executive Peter Steenkamp.