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Amplats hit by wildcat strike

Workers are demanding the company rehire dismissed union leaders.

FILE:Amplats miners at the Komanani shaft have agreed to go back to work while workers Union AMCU negotiates with mine management regarding the possible retrenchment of 14 000 workers. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said employees at its Thembelani and Khomanani mines embarked on a wildcat strike on Monday.

Workers are demanding the company rehire union leaders who were dismissed last month for orchestrating an illegal sit in at Thembelani.

The industrial action followed the dismissal of four union shop stewards for "inappropriate behaviour who were dismissed last month for orchestrating an illegal sit in at Thembelani.

The workers prevented 2,400 workers from going above ground.

Four union shop stewards were dismissed for inappropriate behaviour.

Meanwhile, mining company Lonmin has reiterated hopes that the issue of union recognition at its mines will be resolved peacefully and as quickly as possible.

Last week, Lonmin filed court papers reportedly proposing a secret ballot be held to establish which unions its members belong to.

Lonmin said the arguments it made in the documents remain sub judice for now and it won't discuss them publicly.

The court application has been set down for Wednesday.

AMCU VS NUM

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) refused to sign a framework agreement last week.

The agreement was brokered by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and was agreed to by all other major role players, including the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Chamber of Mines, represented by Vice-President Mike Teke.

Earlier in 2013, Motlanthe was tasked with stabilising the troubled sector.

The NUM used to be the majority union at Lonmin's Marikana mine, but Amcu now represents about 70 percent of employees.

The NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said disruptions were reported at recruitment drives at two Lonmin mines.

"The people who threatened our members at the Eastern Platinum Mine were wearing Amcu t-shirts. We therefore assume that they were Amcu members."

The mining sector has been in the spotlight after 34 miners were gunned down at the hands of police at the Marikana mine in the North West on August 16.