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Amplats miners head back to work after clashes

Sapa

Anglo American Platinum workers in Rustenburg have returned to work after clashes and work stoppages.

Amplats workers stayed away from work on Tuesday following a clash between security guards and workers at Siphumelele shaft on Monday. (AFP)

"We are at work, the morning shift started at 4am. Everything is back to normal," said the workers' leader Gaddafhi Mdoda on Wednesday.

He said workers decided at a meeting on Tuesday at Bleskop Stadium to return to work.

Amplats workers stayed away from work on Tuesday following a clash between security guards and workers at Siphumelele shaft on Monday.

Thirteen people were injured, one of them critically.

The critically injured mineworker was admitted at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg with head injuries.

"He is still in hospital. We are preparing to see him," said Mdoda.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) spokesperson Mpumi Sithole said the clash happened when workers' committee members were contesting the legitimacy of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at the mine and demanding that NUM vacate its offices.

'Validating union membership'
"The company is currently in the process of validating union membership at Rustenburg and the mines north of the Pilanesburg," she said in a statement on Monday.

Amplats security fired rubber bullets when an attempt was made to remove NUM shopstewards from their office. The office was provided for by the company to the dominant union.

Mdoda said they were not fighting with NUM.

"Workers are protesting their continued occupation of the office while they have no majority."

In August, Amplats fired 12 000 strikers from its operation in Rustenburg. The workers were later re-employed.

The workers went on a wildcat strike demanding a monthly salary of R16 000.

Last year, the North West town was the scene of violent mining protests in which scores of people died. – Sapa

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