Strike shuts down Harmony’s Kusasalethu gold mine

(Image: Kusasalethu gold mine. Courtesy of Harmony Gold)

South African miner Harmony Gold is dealing with a new labour dispute that has shut down its Kusasalethu mine, west of Johannesburg.

Starting on Friday, many workers did not go work in protest for the firing of six leaders of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) due to their role in another stoppage staged earlier this year. The company was expecting the strike would be over by now, but almost no one showed up for Sunday’s evening nor Monday’s shifts.

In a press release, Harmony calls the action “illegal” and warns that it will approach the Labour Court “for an urgent interdict against the strike.”

Kusasalethu, whose 2016 output was of 141,000 ounces of gold, employs some 4,500 workers. However, it has been the epicentre of labour violence and strikes in recent years mainly due to a turf-war between AMCU and its rival, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

The latter also issued a statement on Monday connected to the ongoing shutdown, saying that four of its members were being intimidated for reporting for work at the mine. According to the union, the four labourers’ houses and cars were torched on Saturday night.