Zululand Anthracite Colliery. Photo: ZAC website
Zululand Anthracite Colliery. Photo: ZAC website

EMAKHALTHINI - The 153 workers who staged an underground sit-in at the Zululand Anthracite Colliery at Emakhalathini in northern KwaZulu-Natal since October 10 - apparently over long-service awards - have resurfaced from the mine, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Sunday.

The 153 NUM members and other workers resurfaced from underground at about 11 pm on Saturday night, the NUM said in a statement. 

"The NUM can also confirm that they are still healthy and strong. They spent five days underground without eating and drinking."  The NUM's KwaZulu-Natal leadership led by regional education chairman Msa Goqo went underground on Saturday night "and managed to rescue all workers". The workers were back at the hostels and would be "transported home".

"The NUM had a robust engagement with the employer and the agreement was reached that the workers will not be fired for embarking on a sit-in underground," the statement said. 

"On the issue of long service, the employer has committed to pay those workers who are owed since 2016 on Monday and those that must be paid this year end of October 2017," NUM Zululand Anthracite Colliery branch secretary Msawenkosi Nkabinde said.

"We managed again to pressure the employer to move away from paying R1780 across all 5th-year intervals. The employer will now pay long service awards of  R2500 for five years, R5000 for 10 years, R7500 for 15 years, R10,000 for 20 years, R12,500 for 25 years, R15,000 for 30 years, and R17,500 for 35 years," Nkabinde said.

- African News Agency (ANA)