Union may take Aurora to court

2010-10-07 09:39

Trade union Solidarity is investigating the possibility of taking Aurora mine to court to get workers’ salaries paid.

And, if they (Solidarity) do not get news today about when will their members be paid, the union will join the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) who are continuing their protest over the same issue at the company’s Orkney, in North West, operations.

“The Labour Court must rule that Aurora must immediately pay the five months that they owe our members,” said the union’s general secretary Gideon du Plessis of the outcome they hope for.

The union is meeting legal representatives of the labour department tomorrow to discuss ways of making the urgent application in case the mine is suddenly liquidated.

Du Plessis said they had also asked the National Prosecuting Authority and the Financial Services Board to look into Aurora’s alleged non-payment of pension contributions.

Aurora had also allegedly not paid over unemployment insurance fund contributions and workmen’s compensation fund contributions, which had been deducted from salaries.

The union’s workers at the mine had been carrying out basic maintenance work but unless they had an answer on when they would be paid by today, they would stop doing this and would join the NUM protest.

NUM has in the meantime approached other mining houses to consider employing miners affected by the situation.

They had also written to the departments of labour, water affairs, mining and justice for assistance but had so far not heard anything.

Illegal mining
Lesiba Seshoka, national spokesperson for NUM, could not say whether the recent spate of illegal mining was being done by Aurora employees.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures – that is a suspicion, but that is not confirmed,” he said.

Nine alleged illegal miners were arrested at the Grootvlei operations on Monday and in August for alleged illegal miners were shot dead at the same mine.

President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma and president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela are both Aurora executives and some critics have suggested that this explains the lack of firm action by the authorities.

A spokesperson for the company said he was on holiday and referred queries to a director, attorney Michael Hulley, who was not immediately available to comment.

Hulley was Zuma’s legal representative during his corruption and rape trials.

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