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Labor Crisis Reportedly Averted in South African Mine by Rival Trade Unions

© AP Photo / Themba HadebeSouth African miners
South African miners - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 26.10.2023
From Sunday night to Wednesday, over 500 miners were trapped underground at the GoldOne-East Modderfontein mine in Springs, a town in the Gauteng province of South Africa amid the dispute between local trade unions the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).
South African trade unions the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) prevented a labor crisis in the GoldOne-East Modderfontein mine in Springs, South Africa, local media reported.
After a three-day of what was described both as a sit-in and an underground hostage situation, all the workers who went down for their night shift on Sunday came back on the surface on Wednesday.
There were no reports regarding the fatal cases, however, some employees have been slightly injured as the NUM union leader confirmed, the outlet reported.

"Those who are not well will be treated and those who are from the hostages will also take a break and have leave to recover. Once they have recovered, they will then return to the system," NUM deputy general secretary, Mpho Phakedi was quoted by the media as saying.

Miners remained underground for several days due to a tense labor dispute between the two unions regarding organizing rights at the gold mine, where NUM is currently the main union while AMCU is aspiring to be recognized there as well, which resulted in a number of court cases.
Artisanal miners, known as zama zamas, mine for gold at a mining operation in Stormhill west of Johannesburg on August 11, 2023 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 27.08.2023
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The GoldOne Group's VP Operations Jonathan Hericourt revealed that last week AMCU sougt judicial authorisation to strike.
According to the mine's head of legal Ziyaad Hassam, what happened at the mine this week is that a group of workers supporting AMCU staged an underground sit-in, forcing other workers to stay in the mine.
Following the returning of the employees to surface, AMCU regional leader Musa Khalipha highlighted that the truce between the rival unions will not last long, the report noted.
"We have to use another strategy, use another plan. Whenever you go to a fight, you don’t use only one gun, you don’t use only one bullet," he underlined.
Although it is still unknown when the full-scale works a the the mine will resume, it has been suggested in the local media that a similar situation may soon reoccur at the mine.