Wildcat strike at chrome mine

2013-05-18 20:32
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New unrest at Marikana

Thousands of mine workers downed tools today at Lonmin mine after a union leader was shot dead in the restive platinum belt at the weekend. See the pictures.

Johannesburg - Operations at a chrome mine in South Africa owned by chemicals group Lanxess have been suspended since Thursday after around 470 workers started an illegal strike over bonus payments, the company said on Saturday.

The dispute at the mine in Rustenburg, 120km northwest of Johannesburg, adds to growing labour tensions around the platinum belt, which are set to intensify over looming job cuts and wage talks in the sector.

"The workforce downed tools, embarking on a strike which entered its second day on Friday. It was declared an illegal work stoppage by a court interdict [order] issued on Friday," the company said in a statement.

"The interdict ordered employees to report for work with immediate effect. However, most of the workforce has not complied with the order."

The company said the workers, who are members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), were entitled to a production-based bonus scheme, but were not eligible to payments under any other plans.

Mxhasi Sithethi, the union's regional co-ordinator for Rustenburg, said the situation around the mine had been tense on Friday, although there were no reports of violence.

"We are trying to persuade workers to go back," he said.

The union will be in talks with the workers and the company on Monday to find a solution to the dispute, he added.

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  mining

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