Deadline given to striking Amplats miners

Striking Amplats miners can avoid dismissal if they return to work by 4pm on Monday.

Anglo American Platinum workers march to the company's office, demanding a better salary. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Miners from Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine, who are currently on an illegal strike, can avoid dismissal if they return to work by 4pm on Monday, management said.

Last week, management at the Rustenburg mine announced it would start taking disciplinary action against workers who continued with their wildcat strike over wages.

Amplats reported attendance figures of less than 20 percent since the miners embarked on a strike three weeks ago.

Miners are demanding monthly salaries of up to R16,000.

Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole said since the issuing of the warning, they have seen a significant increase in the number of workers reporting for duty.

"We don't have the [specific] numbers yet, but as people start coming in, we take records of that.

"They do have an opportunity to make representations upon their arrival, and they could avoid dismissal if they return before 4pm today."

But miners said management's threats of dismissal will not end their strike.

A representative for the striking miners, Thebe Meswabl, said mine management is welcome to pack their bags and leave for America, if they are not willing to give them their demands.

Meanwhile, leaders for striking workers on Sunday called on miners across the country to join a mass demonstration to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in October.

Strike leader Mametlwe Sebei said the workers plan to march to the Union Buildings on October 13.

"We are going to be rallying all other miners to help us demand a wage of R12,500 for all workers."

Sebei said the demonstration is aimed at putting pressure on the mining industry to pay its workers decent salaries and improve their living conditions.

He said the miners already received support from workers in the diamond sector and civil society organisations.

Meanwhile, Cosatu said it will also support strikes by mineworkers across the country, saying the issue of improved wages and living conditions have been ignored for too long.

On Saturday, the union federation's General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi addressed hundreds of workers at Gold Fields KDC West mine.

Vavi pledged that Cosatu will fight for the miners' rights.

He said the workers demands for a minimum wage of R12,500 is a legitimate plea.

Vavi said it is shocking that workers live in inhumane condition even after apartheid.