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Amplats Dishaba sit-in continues

Workers are demanding that a shop steward who was recently suspended be reinstated.

Amcu members at Amplats Dishaba mine in Limpopo are staging a sit-in against the suspension of a shop steward.

JOHANNESBURG - Police say more than 2,000 miners are still under ground at Amplats' Dishaba mine in Limpopo where workers are holding a sit-in protest.

Workers are demanding that a shop steward who was recently suspended be reinstated.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) management, who represents the majority of the group and police, are busy negotiating with workers to suspend their sit-in.

Limpopo police's Hangwani Mulaudzi says the workers have been without food since yesterday morning.

"I'm told that management is giving them water for now. But in terms of food, yes they haven't received food for 48 hours I think, which is wrong."

The sit-in is the latest in a string of developments at South Africa's mines involving Amcu.

Last week the union threatened industrial action at the country's three biggest platinum producers after wage talks deadlocked.

Impala Platinum, Anglo American and Lonmin Platinum all failed to reach a wage settlement with Amcu which has become the representative for the majority of workers on the platinum belt.

At the time Amcu's Jimmy Gama said their members at Amplats had already voted to go on strike but added that talks with the company will continue in a bid to avoid this.

The union was due to meet with the companies this week and said it was committed to avoiding any work stoppages.

Last month Amcu ended a nearly two-week walkout at Anglo American Platinum against job cuts.

MINING INDUSTRY STRIKES

The South African mining industry is no stranger to industrial action.

In Limpopo, the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) on Friday asked for intervention from Northam Platinum mines' shareholders to end a week-long strike over wages.

More than 7,000 Num members embarked on industrial action after rejecting a 6.5 percent wage increase offer from management.

They are demanding an increase of R2,100 and refused to negotiate in percentages.

The dispute involves the workforce at Northam's Zondereinde operation which accounts for the vast majority of its annual production of 300,000 ounces a year.

AMCU, NUM RIVALRY

There is no love lost between Amcu and NUM.

Earlier this year NUM accused Amcu of intimidating its members as both unions were bidding for the majority recognition at Lonmin mines.

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

The rivalry between the two unions has been ongoing since last year.

On Wednesday a former NUM shop steward died in hospital after he was shot at Lonmin's Marikana mine in Rustenburg.

Percy Letanang was shot seven times by unknown gunmen.

Following the incident NUM's Livhuwani Mammburu said their members were being targeted.

Lonmin has been the focus of various violent incidents involving mine workers since 34 were shot and killed by police during a strike in August 2012.

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