Amplats workers defiant, strike continues

2012-11-10 16:03

Rustenburg - Striking mineworkers at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) would not return to work, a miners' representative said in Rustenburg on Saturday.

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

"The strike is still on."

Hundreds of striking workers were gathered at a mass rally at the Olympia Park Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday morning.

The crowd was singing and dancing as police in Nyalas and vans kept watch over proceedings. A police helicopter was circling overhead.

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 R4 500 [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."

Ramokga said the rally was also to ensure the safety and stability in Rustenburg and to stop violence.

"We are here mourning for our comrades who passed away during the strike all over the country."

He said they were also holding the rally to demand a living wage and better living conditions for all.

The workers said they would not oppose returning to work if their salary demands were met.

"We are looking for money. If they give us what we need, we can go back to work," said Simon Gqaza, an employee at Amplats for the last three years.

"I need R16 000. If they give me that money that I'm looking for I will go back to work anytime."

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

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


During the rally the Democratic Left Front (DLF) handed out pamphlets and a spokesperson addressed the crowd offering support to the miners.

"Mineworkers are no longer prepared to accept the starvation wages offered by mine bosses, while they reap huge profits," the pamphlet read.

Spokesperson Vishwas Satgar said the DLF made a contribution because rallies have become a vocal point of solidarity.

"[We made the contribution] because we believe in the worker's cause. [The rallies] are a platform to amplify their cause, demands and struggle," Satgar said.

"We've made a modest contribution."

He could not give a specific amount, but said it was anywhere between R10 000 and R50 000. However he emphasised that the contribution was not only from them but also solidarity organisations who supported the miners.

"There's a strong feeling that the violence needs to come to an end."

He said he hoped the rally would send a strong message to mine bosses that a serious offer had to be put on the table.

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) also gave its support for the workers.

Spokesperson Mametlwe Sebei told workers the strike effort and strikers were becoming stronger by the day.

"We are strong because each and everyday we are becoming more organised."

He said workers were united.

"There is no compensation on the demand for a decent wage."

Spokesperson for the Marikana Support Campaign Rehad Desai also offered his support and called for miners to close down Amplats smelters.

The lawyer for the families of the killed Marikana miners and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union in the Farlam commission into the shooting, James Nichol also addressed the crowd.

He explained how he witnessed the shooting in his London home and decided to come to South Africa to assist.

"When the miner go down the mine he goes down poor and when he comes up he comes up poor."

In the meantime mine bosses continued to become richer, Nichol said.

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-11-10 16:24

    The beginning of the end? Dictatorship and anachy.

      facts.peter - 2012-11-10 17:32

      I agree with you but "the beginning" started long time ago. We are basically at the end of the "end". I said it before and will repeat myself again. Get rid of any fixed assets in this country because it will be worth nothing within the next 2 years. SA will end up worse than Zim.

      LutherKingsley - 2012-11-10 21:01

      Like Zuma said: "we must solve problems the African way..."

      Claudia_Meads - 2012-11-10 23:18

      It strikes me (excuse the pun) - there must be thousands of unemployed, young white South African males, who would happily work for R4500/month and get free lodging, plus the attractive bonuses - notably as they will be vastly more productive than these muti slurping-, rabbit chasing (viz hallucinating) goons. They are naturally more intelligent and physically vastly fitter (e.g. are not all hopeless alcoholics-/drug-addicts) - thus will have levels of productivity comparable to the first world. It is becoming clearer by the day (notably to the rest of the world - eg The Economics, the Wall Street Journal, even investors within BRICS) that the National Party may have had a point...

      heathway.master - 2012-11-11 09:58

      Miners will continue to strike until their initial demand to get R16, 500 clear after all deductions. This relates to a salary of about R25, 000 a month, to basically unskilled, semi-literate workers. As an African miner has told me, the present strikers are regarded by other miners as being the least skilled on the mines, occupying the lowest rung of the employment chain. These miners are anyhow the best paid and looked after in the entire African Continent. The country has a 40% unemployment rate, and due to the world economic crises, many of the mines are running at a loss. South Africans had better brace themselves for typical African States anarchy, lawlessness, violence, death and destruction of all that has taken 100's of years to build up. As mineral production at the world’s largest mines has virtually been brought to a standstill, most marginal mines will be closed down, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, both at the mines and at the thousands of satellite businesses serving the mines. All the newly unemployed will then go on a violent rampage at the loss of their only form of income. This will fuel a never ending cycle of unemployment and further violence, until SA becomes the “BASKET CASE” that so many of its people are so desperately fighting for. This has all been led by unbelievable greed, envy, and an attitude of entitlement. Such crass stupidity is unexplainable.

  • Strikeback - 2012-11-10 16:43

    Now there you have it Amplats! What are you going to do? Your mock dismissals has amounted to nothing and the challange has been made. Have you got what it takes to stand your ground and dismiss these workers? Report them ro Strikeback so we can read in years to come "Dismissed miner seeks employment, has bargaining skills, know when to stop threatoning" What's it going to be? Maybe a preserverence bonus to suplement the "hardship" bonus? Time to ship out

  • JamesMWood - 2012-11-10 17:20

    Dear amplats, please shut down your south african operations, our people obviously do not need the work or money they would earn.\r\nNot gonna be a very merry Christmas for some!

      sbudesh1 - 2012-11-10 17:45

      When they shut it down the government will take over

      facts.peter - 2012-11-10 18:33

      @sbudesh1 Agree again. These strikes are driven by the government. Only fools wont see or understand that. Zuma is making good friends with the rest of his gang by spending another R1.4 billion on their houses. Like Mugabe is he building an untouchable friendship where he can hide in his R300 million hut. I hope the Xhosas wake up quickly.

      rodney.bevan.58 - 2012-11-10 19:24

      sbudesh. better hope not, the government will only exploit the workers even more, then abandon the mine and sell the equipment, exactly the same as what happened with another mine. Besides, the government can't run a frikkin government department with out corruption and fraud, how the heck are they ever going to run a mine?

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-11 01:29

      @sbudesh1 - If govt took over mines, they'd all end up as storage space for textbooks

  • louisjacobus.vanas - 2012-11-10 17:33

    R16500-00 per month this is 3 times more what the other 5million workers earn a month. a miners job is no more important than the truck driver, forklift driver or a secretarial job. If they do not want to work, fire them, kick them out of their mine houses and appoint the willing to work who is sitting on the street corner. Employe even the millions of Zimbabwe'ans who are willing to work.

  • bashin.monyela - 2012-11-10 17:35

    Pay them, they put in hard labour daily, you can afford it so pay these men.

  • richard.lemmer1 - 2012-11-10 17:49

    Fire all the f@$&$@&rs !

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-11-10 17:54

    I don't get it. Why don't they rather strike for say R 80 000, 00? Either way, they are going to end up with NO JOB and then they will remember their big dreams (that ultimately will turn into a nightmare before they wake up to reality.

  • gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-10 18:02

    Well the gov tells the mines not to retrench, the unions are disorganised,the workers are the tail wagging the dog. Time for buisness to take a stand, fire them, close the mines and wait it out.

      bashin.monyela - 2012-11-10 19:58

      Ef all that, pays these dudes, those rich mofos been collecting millions at the expense of the workers

  • deon.duplessis.96 - 2012-11-10 21:55

    Technically they are not on strike, because they are dismissed workers. Only workers can strike, therefore this is actually a protest march by unemployed people. I hope they know it!

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