Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Six-week strike at Implats ends

Over 13 500 workers returned to work at Impala Platinum in Rustenburg by Wednesday afternoon in what may be an end to a six-week-long illegal strike, the company said.

“Today at a meeting of Implats, the National Union of Mineworkers and a delegation of rock drill operators, it was agreed to call an end to the illegal work stoppage,” Implats said in a statement.

“The company hopes that this also signals the end to the violence and intimidation.”

By close of business, around 13 500 people had re-applied for their jobs. This included more than 3 000 rock drill operators, who were vital to get the mine up and running again. The mine planned to resume production on Monday.

“We hope to start phasing in production from Monday, March 5, following safety inductions and medical screening for all returning employees.”

Earlier, NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said workers were returning in busloads.

“Buses were full today with people going back to work.”

Open positions
Implats said it would favour dismissed employees when filling positions over the next few days.

“Implats has resolved that in the filling of open positions over the next few days, returning employees will be given preference on a first-come, first-served basis over new applicants, and will receive their old benefits and terms and conditions.”

Implats had previously only agreed to rehire 15 000 of the 17 200 dismissed workers.

On Wednesday it said once it had reached 15 000 it would keep a list of names who would be given preference when new jobs became available.

More violence was reported on Wednesday morning. North West police spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said there were two attacks involving Implats workers.

“In the first incident, an RDP house belonging to a 41-year-old man was attacked in Freedom Park by an unknown group of people,” he said, referring to the informal settlement near Rustenburg.

The windows of his car and house were broken when the group threw stones.

Four Implats workers on their way to work were attacked, allegedly by a group of striking miners, in Freedom Park Phase Two.

“The victims were attacked with knobkerries and sustained injuries to the head, legs and body,” Ngubane said.

Bodily harm
They were taken to the Impala hospital for treatment. Police were investigating a case of malicious damage to property and three cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Implats fired the 17 200 workers after they refused to return to work earlier this month, despite a court interdict declaring a strike they embarked on in January, illegal.

Since then, three people had been killed in violence involving dismissed workers. Scores of people were injured in violent intimidation, while over 100 people were arrested for public violence.

During the six-week strike Implats lost 100 000 platinum ounces, which was equivalent to lost revenue of around R2-billion, the company said on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, suspended ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema urged the fired workers to return to work.

When problems first started at the mine in January, the rock drill operators, who had downed tools, refused to involve the NUM in resolving their dispute.

Another union, the Association of Mining and Construction Union, was blamed for exploiting employee dissatisfaction. — Sapa

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Gillian Jones
Guest Author

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Mkhize throws the book at the Special Investigating Unit

It’s a long shot at political redemption for the former health minister and, more pressingly, a bid to avert criminal charges

Pockets of instability in Kenya are underpinned by unequal development

Stability in Kenya hinges on a just, equitable distribution of resources, and a commitment to progress human development for the marginalised

Eastern Cape premier Mabuyane lives large amid province’s poverty

Oscar Mabuyane and MEC Babalo Madikizela allegedly used a portion of state funds for struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s commemoration for their own benefit

Constitutional court confirms warrantless searches in cordoned off areas unconstitutional

The law was challenged in response to raids in inner Johannesburg seemingly targeting illegal immigrants and the highest court has pronounced itself 10 days before an election in which then mayor Herman Mashaba has campaigned on an anti-foreigner ticket
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×