Amcu strikers block returning workers

2014-05-14 09:33

About 1 000 stick-wielding strikers gathered outside Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, preventing workers from breaking the longest and costliest bout of industrial action in the sector’s history.

Some of the protesting strikers, clad in the green shirts of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), said they were there to block anyone from reaching the shafts.

The rival National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said its members were unable to return to work because of Amcu intimidation. Four people have been murdered around the platinum mines in the past four days, although police have made no arrests.

“The miners cannot get to work because the intimidation is very high,” said Sydwell Dokolwana, the NUM’s regional secretary on the platinum belt.

Lonmin had been aiming for a “mass return” of workers in a bid to end a crippling 16-week strike that has also hit rivals Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum.

A police spokesperson told eNCA that officers were out in force and were on hand to escort those who wished to return to the mine gates.

“Buses and vehicles taking them to work will receive a police escort to make sure they are protected,” police spokesperson Thulani Ngubane said.

The companies have been taking their latest wage offer directly to Amcu’s members after wage talks with the union collapsed three weeks ago.

The strike has halted 40% of normal global output and dented already sluggish growth in South Africa.

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