An illegal mine strike organized underground at Wesizwe’s Bakubung platinum operation in Rustenburg, North West, South Africa, has ended and all parties have convened in talks.
The mine owner said on 9 December that the approximately 200 workers at the complex, who had been demanding pay increases and revisions to its maternity policy, resurfaced the prior evening at about 11 p.m. local time.
At that time, no workers remained underground.
The sit-in was first confirmed by the operator on 7 December, and had been effective since the morning of 6 December. It was focused on the mine’s 77 Level shaft.
“This [action] led to the failure of the next shift to assume their responsibilities,” officials said, adding that on the same day and afternoon, management had acted swiftly to diffuse and correct the situation by meeting with their representatives.
It cited arguments for a minimum requested remuneration for employees, changes to employees’ benefits, subsidies and working conditions for the group’s strike action. In the meantime, it cancelled forthcoming shifts for safety to all of its workers.
Union NUM told eNCA that there was more to the story with the sit-in.
“We must be frank on this one. The reason this is happening is because it’s a Chinese-owned mine and they don’t respect any legal laws of this country,” Regional Secretary Geoffrey Moatshe said.
“We’re going to fight this up until they comply with the law. At the end of the meeting there was a commitment from the employer that issues that were raised are going to be addressed.”
Bakubung was formerly known as the Frischgewaagd-Ledig project. Development of the mine was officially launched in July 2011.