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Cosatu plans march against miner dismissals

Cosatu is planning protest action against the firing of striking workers in all sectors of the economy.

FILE PICTURE: Lonmin workers gather to march for better salaries. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - While mining companies continue to carry out mass dismissals due to ongoing illegal strikes for higher wages, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is planning protest action across all sectors of the economy against this.

Thousands of workers at mines have been fired by their employers, after they refused to end their illegal strikes.

Cosatu has since accused the companies of capitalising on the strikes, to embark on massive downsizing campaigns at no cost to them.

Cosatu spokesperson Norman Mampane said their demand for the immediate reinstatement of all dismissed mineworkers will kick off on Saturday in Rustenburg in the North West.

"Cosatu has called for solidarity action by all affiliates," he said.

Mampane said the trade union federation would setup an operations centre in the North West - where the strikes have been the most violent in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Gold Fields spokesperson Sven Lunche said they were aware of Cosatu's demand.

He said their demand was "of concern", but added that the mine had exhausted all their other options.

Lunche said an ultimatum was only issued after numerous wage negotiations failed.

At teh same time, Harmony Gold Mine on Gauteng's West Rand has reported that a large number of workers returned to work at its Kusasalethu operation, after it issued them an ultimatum on Tuesday.

The mine threatened to dismiss workers immediately, should they fail to report for duty today.