The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is very disturbed about the behaviour of Lily Mine in excluding them from participating in issues relating to the aftermath of the incident in that mine. NUM has members at Lily Mine who might be directly and indirectly affected by the incident at this mine.
Lily mine must be reminded that health and safety affect everyone at the mine irrespective of whether such a person is affiliated to a recognised or unrecognised union. The exclusion of the NUM leadership from participating in any activity relating to the aftermath of the incident sends us a message as the union that the only health and safety that is protected is that of the members of the recognised union in that workplace. It therefore means that the health and safety of the other employees who do not belong to a recognised union are not protected and no weight is attached to it and hence their representatives are not be allowed to participate through the other processes that are aimed at identifying the possible causes or unsafe acts that might have resulted in the occurrence of the incident and to agree on possible remedial actions together with the other parties in order to improve the health and safety of all persons working at the mine.
This behaviour shows us that Lily mine is not concerned with the protection of the health and safety of all employees and the improvement thereof. This will happen only when Lily mine realises that the safety and health of every employee is very important and, therefore, the inclusion of every stakeholder in this process is of paramount importance as it is one of the objectives of the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) in improving health and safety. Their behaviour defeats the very objectives that the mining industry is trying to achieve.
Lily mine management must account why there was no escape route, why the management have no knowledge about the mine being ridden with sinkholes? This is not the first time mine management denied the NUM access to the mine. We need to categorically make it clear that a meeting with management was pre-arranged and confirmed last week Wednesday. Why is the management refusing to meet with the NUM? What are they hiding? Did the management and the recognised union adhered to the health and safety systems before the incident could happen? Mineworkers cannot be sacrificed for profits anymore.
Issued by NUM