Strikers dismissed and reinstated

Zwakene Sambo, Dumisane Shabangu and Patrick Thwala in front of the striking workers.


The two sacked employees, Patrick Thwala and Dumisane Shabangu are members of the National Union of Mineworkers (Num).

Thwala is branch secretary and Shabangu is chairman.

According to the dismissal letters shown to Barberton Times, Thwala was charged for being dishonest after he went away for two days without official leave. This led to his dismissal.

Shabangu was charged for allegedly assaulting a fellow worker on duty.

They were both charged in absentia.

Read More:  Deadlock in mining strike continues

Following their dismissal the workers downed tools last Tuesday in their support.

They returned to work the following day.

Thwala claimed they were unfairly dismissed as the company did not follow the correct disciplinary procedure.

“We suspect that the company is trying to destabilise our union because since Num was recognised as the official labour union representing the workers, we managed to achieve more for our members,” said Thwala.

During the employees illegal strike, Stefanutti management issued three warnings instructing them to report back to work. If they failed to do so they would be dismissed.

Also Read: Barberton miners’ strike is now declared illegal

When the workers defied the warning management issued the final one, stipulating that if they continued to fail to adhere to the warnings they were going to face disciplinary action, which would lead to dismissal.

After failing to report back to duty, all the striking employees were dismissed.

It took the intervention of the City of Mbombela Local Municipality Ward 43 councillor, Cllr Liberty Shongwe to reinstate the workers.

According to Shongwe, Stefanutti management called informing him about the issue.

He arranged a meeting with management where they agreed to reverse the decision, except for the Num officials.

Mine management could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.

Tom Zwane

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