South Africa: As COVID-19 Spreads Among Mineworkers, Mines Ignore the Role of Trade Unions At Their Peril

opinion

The mining sector has recorded hundreds of Covid-19 cases with most companies still not complying with measures set out by government. Mining companies are not complying with requirements to screen and test workers.

With the number of Covid-19 positive cases expected to surge beyond 500,000 before the end of the winter season, it is important that employers start to listen now to the advice of trade unions and share notes before arrogantly throwing workers into the lion's den.

This will help in combating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic at workplaces going forward.

Tapping into what President Cyril Ramaphosa said when moving the country from lockdown Level 5 to Level 3, we must all collectively be prepared to live with Covid-19 for a year or even more.

Observations that are made so far paint a gloomy picture. In the case of mineworkers, for example, the majority were bulldozed out of their comfort zones and forced into returning to work barely prepared and exposed to the virus. We are now witnessing undue consequences - the daily increases in the number of positive cases reported at various mining houses. Such a situation remains unpalatable.

Pushing workers back to work was a blanket...

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