Solidarity goes to court over DRDGold retrenchments

Trade union Solidarity has lodged an application with the Labour Court for an urgent interdict against JSE-listed mining company DRDGold.

In a statement on Tuesday, the union said it had acted following the company’s refusal of several applications by Solidarity to be involved in the section 189 process at the group’s Blyvooruitzicht mine near Carletonville.

“In terms of the section 189 notice, the company plans on retrenching 1 300 of the mine’s employees.

“Although there have been no consultations whatsoever with Solidarity regarding the retrenchments, Solidarity members have already been notified of the retrenchment and have been retrenched,” the union said.

It charged that DRDGold had not followed a fair process, as prescribed by the Labour Relations Act.

“The application for an interdict is an effort to have the section 189 process declared null and void in order to ensure that the process has to start anew,” Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans said.

“The company has until this coming Friday to submit its opposing statement.”

Solidarity said it was hoping to get a ruling on the matter next week.

“Solidarity’s involvement in the process is essential and is prescribed by law.

“The process will simply have to restart in order to give Solidarity a say in the consultation process, thereby enabling the trade union to fight for its members,” Kleynhans said.

Solidarity currently represents about 115 members at the Blyvooruitzicht mine.

When asked to comment, DRDGold spokesperson James Duncan said Solidarity was not recognised at Blyvooruitzicht.

“There is no recognition agreement in place ... so under section 189 the company isn’t obliged to engage with Solidarity.”

However, Duncan said DRDGold had made an informal approach to the trade union.

“Solidarity was invited to make representations and it didn’t,” Duncan said.

“Obviously the judicial process will take its course, but we really don’t think Solidarity has a leg to stand on.”—Sapa

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