Glencore Xstrata Receives Union Demand to Reinstate 1,000 Staff

Glencore Xstrata Plc received union demands to reinstate about 1,000 workers at South African chrome mines after fired employees massed on its Johannesburg office.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union President Joseph Mathunjwa handed the world’s fourth-biggest mine operator a document accusing it of marginalizing black employees and demanding the company respond within seven working days.

“Workers, they find themselves where they are, dismissed because of protesting against racism,” he told reporters. About 200 employees, allowed by police to mass at the entrance to the office complex, listened to Mathunjwa read from the document.

The company, which laid off workers after a wildcat strike starting a month ago at the Helena mine in Mpumalanga province spread to its Thorncliffe and Magareng sites, said it’s already hiring replacements for the workers. Miners downed tools after a member of the AMCU accused a shift supervisor of assault. About 1,500 people in total are employed at the three sites.

“We are in the process of recruiting,” Chris Tsatsawane, a spokesman for Glencore, said by phone. Meanwhile, the mines are operating at a reduced production rate, Tsatsawane said.

South African workers may strike with their jobs protected as long as an independent mediator agrees to the stoppage and talks between unions and companies have failed.

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