North West miners to unify strikes

2012-11-10 18:02
Striking miners (Picture: AFP)

Striking miners (Picture: AFP)

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Rustenburg - Mineworkers across the North West have decided to combine their strike efforts, a workers' representative said in Rustenburg on Saturday.

"We have realised the weak point of the way we are striking one by one," Sphamandla Makahanya said during an Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) strike rally at the Olympia Park Stadium.

More than a thousand striking workers were gathered at a mass rally. The crowd was singing and dancing as police in Nyalas and vans kept watch over proceedings. A police helicopter was circling overhead.

Makahanya explained that mines including Lonmin, Impala, Gold Fields KDC East and Pokeng would join the strike.

"If I'm right there are almost nine mines in total." A date has not been set yet for the unified strike. Makahanyat said it should be in January.

"We are going to plan it from today onwards," Makahanya said.

He said some mines have returned to normal operation, but planned to join the strike in the new year as their demands were still not met.

Workers would go to the African National Congress' elective conference Mangaung in December.

"We are going to Mangaung to show our anger."

He reiterated that workers could not go back to work on Monday as indicated in Amplats' latest wage offer.

"There is no way we are going to return to work."

He said Amplats offered miners a once off payment of R4 500.

"That is not our demand. That is why we refused."

Earlier a fellow representative also said workers would not return to work on Monday.

"The workers decided they won't go back to work. There are conditions that are unfavourable," Evans Ramokga said.

"The strike is still on."

On Friday Amplats management re-opened discussions on miners returning to work.

"The outcome of these discussions is that management has revised the initial offer to a once-off allowance of R4500 (gross of tax) to be paid to each qualifying employee," it said in a statement.

"[This was] comprising a R2 000 loyalty or hardship allowance and a R2 500 safe start-up allowance to be paid two weeks after employees have returned to work and have commenced actual work."

Amplats fired 12 000 workers after they failed to appear for a disciplinary hearing. They had been on a wildcat strike since September 12, demanding to be paid a minimum of R16 000 a month.

The company then offered workers a re-instatement offer, which was not accepted.

- SAPA
Read more on:    amplats  |  lonmin  |  gold fields  |  impala  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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