Striking miners wait for Malema

2012-02-28 11:00
Rustenburg - Striking mine workers at Impala Platinum (Implats) mine near Rustenburg braved the hot morning sun on Tuesday to wait for ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

Malema was expected to have a consultative meeting with the workers about their salaries and working conditions at Implats.

A large crowd of men holding umbrellas gathered at Freedom Park sports grounds to wait for him to arrive.

Some sat in groups while others blew whistles and sang liberation songs in front of the podium where Malema was expected to speak.

Violent strike

The workers went on strike five weeks ago demanding a minimum pay of R9 000 a month.

Last week, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi urged them to return to work, but most refused.

Three people have died and scores have been injured in violence related to the illegal strike.

On Tuesday, the police watched the proceedings from a distance.

Implats has been blamed for the strike by National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni.

He said on Monday that the union's central structures had not been informed that Implats was going to implement a salary adjustment for miners.

This retention bonus was apparently not given to rock drill operators, which led to them walking off the job, followed by thousands of other miners. Implats fired 17 200 workers after they refused to go back to their jobs.

Initially, Implats said the dismissed workers could reapply for their positions, but would lose any benefits they previously had.

However, on Friday the union and Implats agreed that workers could be reinstated with their previous benefits intact. They would not be paid for the days they did not work.

Read more on:    num  |  impala platinum  |  julius malema  |  mahikeng  |  strikes  |  labour  |  mining

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