Johannesburg, South Africa — 03 June 2013 – Glencore Xstrata plc, the world’s fourth-biggest mining company, says it has fired about 1,000 workers who participated in an unauthorised strike at three of its South African chrome mines.

“All dismissed employees have the right to appeal and the deadline to do so is tomorrow,” company spokesman Christopher Tsatsawane said by phone. “We condemn any form of violence or intimidation and we will continue to work with the authorities to resolve the situation peacefully.” He declined to say how many people remain on strike, reports Bloomberg News.

A strike started last week at the Helena mine in the North-West province after an employee who is a member of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) accused a shift supervisor of assault, Tsatsawane said. After about 200 workers had joined the strike, the action spread to the Magareng and Thorncliffe mines. All three are on the Bushveld Complex, an ore body that contains chrome and has the world’s richest seam of platinum ore.

The mines are still shut as the stoppage continues, according to AMCU treasurer Jimmy Gama. “At this point in time nothing has changed,” he said by phone.

Employees in South Africa may strike legally, with their jobs protected, if an independent mediator agrees to a stoppage and after talks between unions and companies fail. Strikes that haven’t followed this process can be deemed unlawful and lead to workers being fired.

Management has put the employee and supervisor on special leave “to ensure the smooth running and finalisation of the investigation,” Tsatsawane said, declining to comment further.

Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.