Workers at the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) Thembelani and Khuseleka mines have embarked on an illegal strike, the company has said.
Amplats said today about 5 600 workers had joined the strike at the two mines.
“This impacted the night shift last night at Thembelani and the morning shift today at Thembelani and Khuseleka 1,” Amplats said in a statement.
Worker demands included the reversal of the suspension of 19 Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) shop stewards who were suspended for participating in an illegal sit-in.
Workers demanded that the company suspend the current section 189 process and proceed with wage negotiations, Amplats said.
“They are also demanding that the company provide a guarantee that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will not be allowed to return to the operations.”
Amplats urged all workers to abide by the framework agreement brokered by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in the mining sector last week.
On Friday, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said in a memorandum handed to employers that mining companies in North West should end “union bashing” and reopen the NUM offices.
“Where there is an intention to close NUM offices, that intention must be abandoned,” Cosatu said in the document.
It called on Impala Platinum to let elected union leaders serve their members.
Cosatu believed that a number of mines, particularly those in the platinum belt, were not affording its affiliate, the NUM, the same rights as other unions.
In May, Amcu at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana threatened to go on strike in an organisational-rights dispute between itself and the NUM.
The dispute arose when the NUM would not vacate a union office after losing its majority status to Amcu.
Unions had been struggling for dominance at the mine, resulting in violent strikes and murders.
Cosatu provincial secretary Solly Phetoe said Friday’s memorandum was handed to officials at Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg office.
Amplats representatives and North West Economic Development MEC Motlalepula Rosho were present at the handover.
Lonmin was the only mining company not represented, said Phetoe.
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