Glencore fires 1 000 workers

2013-06-03 11:42

Glencore Xstrata sacked 1 000 workers across three of its chrome mines for going on illegal strike last week, bringing those operations to a standstill, the company has said.

The dispute at the mines near Steelpoort, in Limpopo, added to long-running friction in the mining industry that has caused production to slow, raised concerns about South Africa and sent the rand to fresh four-year lows.

Chromium is a raw material used to produce ferrochrome, a key ingredient to make stainless steel.

“About 1 000 of the employees who have participated in the unprotected (illegal) strike have been dismissed,” said Christopher Tsatsawane, a spokesperson for the company's chrome operations.

The strike, which started last Tuesday, was continuing, but supplies to customers were not yet affected, he added.

The workers have until tomorrow to appeal the dismissals.

The miners, most of whom belong to the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), stopped work in solidarity with an individual who says he was assaulted by a shift supervisor, the company said last week.

Talks over the weekend between Amcu and the company failed to end the dispute and no other meetings were scheduled at this stage, Tsatsawane added.

Dismissal of workers is likely to increase tension with trade unions as they head into wage negotiations in the coming weeks.

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