All quiet at Implats, police say

2012-02-22 19:09

Johannesburg - The situation at Impala Platinum's (Implats) Rustenburg operation was calm early Wednesday evening, North West police said.

"It's quiet and calm for the moment. We shall see as the night goes on," Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said.

No disruptions had been reported since early on Wednesday morning when a boardroom on the mine's premises was burnt down during the ongoing violent protests.

"The boardroom was set on fire in the early hours of this morning [Wednesday], at shaft 7A," said Ngubane.

He said no injuries were reported. A case of arson had been opened. No arrests have been made.

The protests, linked to a five-week long strike at the mine, had claimed two lives so far. Implats fired 17 000 workers after they went on an unprotected strike demanding that the salaries of rock drill operators be increased to R9 000 a month.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) negotiated with the mine to re-employ the dismissed workers. Some workers, most of them at the mine's North shafts, refused to return to work unless they were paid at least R9 000 a month.

Most NUM members in the North shafts did not want to be represented by the NUM, claiming the union had failed them. They wanted to be represented by the Association of Mining and Construction Union.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said more workers were coming forward to be re-employed, and by Tuesday more than 8 000 had their jobs back.

"The process is moving smoothly," he said.

Implats said on Tuesday discussions with the NUM would continue around any issues which still needed to be resolved once the workers were back on the job.

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