21 May 2014

South Africa: Platinum Strike Will Collapse - Union

Rustenburg — The four-month-old strike in the platinum mining sector will eventually collapse, the Workers' Association Union (WAU) said on Wednesday.

"The strike has reached its summit and is declining," WAU general secretary Elifas Ngoepe said.

"You will see a situation were few people are outside and they have to decide to go to work or remain on strike. It will gradually end. It is a matter of when."

He said a survey conducted by platinum mining companies indicated that the majority of miners at Anglo American Platinum, Lonmin, and Impala Platinum wanted to return to work.

"As a union we do not say workers should not be on a strike. If the strike went for over a month it reflects poor planning."

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin, Impala, and Amplats operations at Rustenburg in the North West and Northam in Limpopo downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

Ngoepe said the WAU was not happy about the violence related to the prolonged strike.

Three mineworkers and one of their wives were killed in Bapong near Brits early this month. Several miners were stabbed on their way to work.

"It is pathetic that nothing decisive has been done to stop these attacks."

He appealed to government to take decisive steps to stop the violence.

"This is not a banana republic. Action must be taken to stop this anarchy."

The union was providing transport, security, meals, and accommodation for miners who returned to work, but people feared for their lives.

"We have two buses transporting workers to Amplats and several minibus taxis taking workers to Lonmin. Our challenge is resources. We have many people coming to us requesting transport to go to work," he said.

WAU member Agripa Phiri's shack was petrol-bombed in Mfidikwe in April. Three shots were fired into his children's bedroom. They were not hurt.

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