Glencore Xstrata Fires 1,000 Miners Over South African Strike

Glencore Xstrata Plc, the world’s fourth-biggest mining company, said it fired about 1,000 workers who participated in an unauthorized strike at three South African chrome production sites.

All dismissed employees have the right to appeal against the decision by today, Christopher Tsatsawane, a spokesman for the company, said by phone. “We condemn any form of violence or intimidation and we will continue to work with the authorities to resolve the situation peacefully.” He declined to say how many remain on strike.

A strike started May 28 at the Helena mine in the North-West province after an employee who is a member of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union accused a shift supervisor of assault, Tsatsawane said. After about 200 workers at the operation, the action spread to the Magareng and Thorncliffe mines. All three are on the Bushveld Complex, an ore body that contains chrome and has the world’s richest seam of platinum ore.

The mines remained shut following talks between the company and the AMCU on May 31, the union’s Treasurer Jimmy Gama said. “Nothing has changed,” he said by phone yesterday.

Employees in South Africa may strike legally, with their jobs protected, if an independent mediator agrees to a stoppage and after talks between unions and companies fail. Strikes that haven’t followed this process can be deemed unlawful and lead to workers being fired.

Management has put the employee and supervisor on special leave “to ensure the smooth running and finalization of the investigation,” Tsatsawane said yesterday, declining to comment further.

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