Glencore Xstrata fires 1 000 mine workers

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Glencore Xstrata has fired about 1 000 workers across three of its chrome mines for embarking on an illegal strike last week, bringing those operations to a standstill, the company announced today, 3 June 2013.

The dispute at the mines near Steelpoort, in Limpopo, has added to long-running friction in the mining industry that has caused production to slow, raised concern about Africa’s largest economy 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 a spokesman for the company’s chrome operations, Christopher Tsatsawane.

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

The workers have until 4 June 2013 to appeal against 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 at the weekend between Amcu and the company failed to end the dispute and no other meetings were scheduled at this stage, confirms Tsatsawane.

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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