Worried workers down tools at Gupta-owned mine

Worried workers down tools at Gupta-owned mine

- Workers have downed their tools in protest over fears that the they will not be paid

- The National Union of Mineworkers are in talks with the mines management

- The management claim that the mine will soon be sold but the Department of Mineral Resources is not aware of the sale

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Approximately 2000 miners have downed their tools in protest at the Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine in Mpumalanga.

The workers are concerned about the future of the mine and whether they would still have jobs in the future as the Gupta's empire crumbles.

Briefly.co.za learned that there have been reports that the company may not be able to pay the workers their salaries at the end of February according to ewn.co.za.

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The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have arranged a meeting with the mine's management team on Thursday at 6 am in an attempt to gain some clarity on the situation.

Richard Mguzulu, a branch secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), has said that suppliers have not been paid in months which has raised fears that the miners may lose their jobs.

The owner of the mine, Ajay Gupta, remains a fugitive after failing to hand himself over to the Hawks. He is allegedly in India.

His brother Atul is challenging the Asset Forfeiture Unit's preservation order of R10-million.

The Department of Mineral Resources has not received any requests for the mineral rights of the mine to be transferred which is what would happen if the mine was being sold. The sale of mining rights requires the Mineral Resources Minster's approval.

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This flies in the face of what the mine's general manager Howard Pyoos said. He told workers that Swiss-based King Charles had already put down a deposit and intends on buying the mine.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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