Food parcels for Lily Mine workers

2016-05-06 13:12


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Barberton - More than 50 families of Lily Mine workers in Mpumalanga have received food parcels after they were only paid R650 at the end of April.

“They only received R650 towards their April pay and you know that was not even enough to cover the fines they incurred for not being able to honour their debit orders on their bank accounts,” trade union Solidarity secretary general Gideon du Plessis said on Thursday evening.

It was unimaginable how they were expected to survive on a pittance. They had no money to travel to work anymore, he said.

He was speaking during the handover of the food parcels at the Barberton Golf Club on Thursday evening.

The mine, owned by Vantage Goldfields, has been placed in business rescue after a collapse on February 5 halted all operations. Three mineworkers disappeared into a sinkhole and have still not been found.

The 55 union members received 27kg of non-perishable items such as maize, flour, soya beans and mince, tinned food, sugar, tea, and salt. This would be enough to sustain a family of five for about two weeks, he said.

‘I cannot pay the rent’

One of the workers, who asked not to be named, told a News24 correspondent he was available for any job should his managers want him to do some work.

“I went to work at Barbrook Mine, Lily Mine’s sister mining operation, for 12-hour shifts only to hear at the end of April that I will not be paid. I am the only breadwinner in my family. I now have to move out of my house because I cannot pay the rent. I don’t know what I am going to do,” he said.

He wanted Lily Mine management to be honest and tell them if they had reason to hope.

The union advised workers to hold out for the coming month before resigning.

Du Plessis said that according to business rescue practitioner Rob Devereux, talks were underway with creditors and the private sector to get loans to pay salaries. Devereux had submitted a financial plan for Lily Mine, he said.

‘No political will’

Du Plessis questioned political leaders' willingness to help the workers.

"What is shocking is that there seems to be no political will to change this disaster into a winning story. It seems that management is just making promises left, right and centre and hoping somebody else will come to the rescue. If that does not happen they choose to blame others. There is no leadership or political will shown in this crisis.”

Workers and residents around the mine have been protesting against the company’s failure to pay wages.

“The situation with the mine at the moment is that all operations have now been suspended. It is now being closed because of the on-going protest. The mine is not generating any income,” said Devereux.

Read more on:    lily mine  |  mbombela

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