Another sit in at AngloGold

2012-11-02 08:57

Another sit-in is taking place at AngloGold Ashanti’s TauTona shaft near Carletonville as workers expressed dismay over the conditions of a bonus they were promised to stop striking.

“It is peaceful, there is no damage,” said AngloGold Ashanti spokesperson Alan Fine today.

The company, which has just managed to get 12 000 striking workers back to their posts, locked the Mponeng shaft for repairs after a similar sit-in there yesterday which ended after discussions between management and workers.

Fine said miners made a small fire that damaged electrical supplies and had to be repaired. The shaft would reopen on Sunday.

In the meantime, management would talk to mine workers to resolve the TauTona impasse.

However, miner Rodgers Motlhabane said by telephone workers arrived at the Mponeng shaft, one of the deepest in the world, for their night and morning shifts not knowing what was going on.

An armoured vehicle drove past telling them the shaft was closed.

“They never came to explain to us why we can’t come underground. They just come and announce with a hippo (armoured vehicle),” he said.

“We are not on strike, because they are the ones who locked us out.”

Colleagues at the TauTona mine had let them know that they were going to have a sit-in.

They intended walking to a nearby koppie, where they gathered during the four weeks they were on strike, to discuss what to do.

Motlhabane said that according to the agreement made to return to work, they would receive an incentive bonus with no conditions.

On their return, though, they were told the conditions were that: they not strike for the first two weeks they were back; there be no fatalities until November 16; they not engage in any action to disrupt production; and meet a high target for gold production.

“It is not possible. Anything can happen underground,” said Motlhabane.

“Conditions underground are very different.”

He said although he was a member of the National Union of Mineworkers, he was not speaking on the union’s behalf, but as the “voice of the working class”.

Fine said the company believed that workers had known about the conditions attached to the bonus.

Even management’s bonuses were linked to safety, and the company wanted to instil a strong sense of safety consciousness, he said.

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