NUM upset with coal company

The National Union of Mineworkers in KwaZulu-Natal wants the department of mineral resources to suspend Forbes Coal's mining licence, a spokesman said on Friday.

This came after management refused to receive a memorandum from striking miners earlier in the day.

“Their licence should be suspended until they come to us because we are stakeholders and we have to be considered,” said NUM provincial secretary Bongani Manyoni.

Union members were concerned over the shooting of two colleagues earlier this week.

They were eventually told that the CEO of Forbes & Manhattan Coal Corp had instructed staff not to receive the memorandum.

Manyoni said the Canadian-based company did not understand its social obligations in South Africa, and vowed to make sure operations did not start again until it received the NUM memorandum.

Striking Forbes Coal workers marched in Dundee earlier over pay demands and to protest about the shootings.

Operations remained suspended at the company's Magdalena

bituminous mine and Aviemore coal mine, in Dundee, after about 750

workers went on a strike in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

Manyoni said workers wanted a salary increase, decent housing, a decent living allowance, for the company to comply with and implement the mining charter and to abide by its social development obligations in the area.

Company spokesman James Duncan said there was never an arrangement for a company representative to receive a memorandum.

The company did abide by the mining charter, and found the demands and threats to be “posturing” when the real issues were wages and conditions of employment.

“Wages and conditions of employment can be settled in a fairly orderly, structured manner,” he said.

He said the company's CEO Stephan Theron was not Canadian, but South African.

Two miners were shot dead on Wednesday during an alleged attempt to enter the company's explosives storage facility, during a protest at the company's Magdalena mine near Dannhauser.

Police seized firearms from Mbube Security guards to determine who fired the fatal shots.

Colonel Jay Naicker said forensics results would help police decide whether there would be arrests. - Sapa