Cops arrest Kumba strikers

2012-10-16 09:32

Police have arrested a group of striking workers at Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine in the Northern Cape.

Police spokesperson Colonel Hendrik Swart said the operation started around 3am and about 40 people were arrested.

Company spokesperson Gert Schoeman said the company had regained possession of all the heavy mining equipment which had been held by the illegal strikers.

“Any damage to equipment is being assessed and the company has plans in place to restore the mine to full production as soon as possible.”

Schoeman said the majority of the illegal strikers ignored an ultimatum to leave the mine and report for disciplinary hearings by yesterday.

He said those who ignored the warning had been dismissed.

Criminal charges of extortion, intimidation, theft, trespassing, malicious damage to property and contempt of court had been laid against them.

Kumba’s chief executive, Norman Mbazima, said the end of the mine pit occupation meant the company could get back to business.

He said employees would be informed when they needed to report to work later today.

The striking group was served with a Labour Court order yesterday to immediately leave the premises and to release the equipment they were holding.

The court order stopped them from coming within 500m of the company’s premises.

Swart said the police action was in terms of the court order. He said the operation ran smoothly.

Earlier, the company said the mine concluded a wage settlement with its recognised unions two months ago.

It had a two-year wage agreement in place with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Solidarity.

The agreement made provision for a total cost-to-company increase of between 9% and 12%.

The company said 95% of the illegal strikers were NUM members who wanted to represent themselves.

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