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Angloplat workers drag on strike

Striking mine workers at Anglo American Platinum (Angloplat) would not return to work, a miners’ representative said in Rustenburg at the weekend.

“The workers decided they won’t go back to work. There are conditions that are unfavourable. The strike is still on,” Evans Ramokga said.

Hundreds of striking workers were gathered at a mass rally at the Olympia Park Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday.

On Friday Angloplat management reopened discussions on miners returning to work.

“The outcome of these discussions is that management has revised the initial offer to a once-off allowance of R4 500 [gross of tax] to be paid to each qualifying employee,” it said.

“This was comprising a R2 000 loyalty or hardship allowance and a R2 500 safe start-up allowance to be paid two weeks after employees have returned to work and have commenced actual work.”

Ramokga said the rally was also to ensure the safety and stability in Rustenburg and to stop violence. “We are here mourning for our comrades who passed away during the strike all over the country.”

He said they were also holding the rally to demand a living wage and better living conditions for all. The workers said they would not oppose returning to work if their salary demands were met.

“We are looking for money. If they give us what we need, we can go back to work,” said Simon Gqaza, an employee at Angloplat for the last three years. Angloplat fired 12 000 workers after they failed to appear for a disciplinary hearing. They had been on a wildcat strike since September 12, demanding to be paid a minimum of R16 000 a month.

The company then made the workers a reinstatement offer, which was not accepted.

The Democratic Socialist Movement also gave its support for the workers. Spokesman Mametlwe Sebei said the strike effort and strikers were becoming stronger by the day.

“We are strong because each and everyday we are becoming more organised.”

Spokesman for the Marikana Support Campaign Rehad Desai also offered his support and called for miners to close down Angloplat smelters.

The lawyer for the families of the killed Marikana miners and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union in the Farlam Commission into the shooting, James Nichol also addressed the crowd.

He explained how he witnessed the shooting in his London home and decided to come to South Africa to assist. – Sapa

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