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Amcu, mine bosses in interdict talks

The union applied for an urgent interdict to stop Lonmin and other producers from contacting members.

The Gift of the Givers hands out food parcels to striking Amcu miners at Anglo American Platinum in Rustenburg on 20 May 2014. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and lawyers for platinum producers are locked in mediation talks in the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Amcu members applied for an urgent interdict to stop Lonmin and other producers from contacting members via SMS.

The union believes the messages are fuelling tensions between workers.

This after Amcu formally rejected the latest wage hike offer from mine bosses and vowed to continue with its wage strike.

About 70,000 members of the union have been on strike at Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum for 17 weeks, demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per mont h.

While some employees have returned to work, others have stayed home out of fear of intimidation.

It's been a long day of discussions between groups with talks starting in Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker's chambers shortly after 11:30am.

Platinum producers are opposing the union's urgent interdict, claiming employees' rights are being violated if the employer is not able to directly contact the workers.

Both sides are remaining mum on the matter, simply saying talks are ongoing behind closed doors.

It's unclear whether talks will be concluded by the end of this afternoon.

FOOD PARCELS HANDED OUT

The Gift of the Givers has handed out food parcels to striking mineworkers and their families at the Amplats platinum mine in Rustenburg.

The relief group also handed out hot meals.

The situation on the platinum belt has been described as an unfolding human tragedy and this week, several non-profit groups, churches and even universities have visited picketing sites to donate food and clothing.

Gift of the Givers spokesperson Emily Thomas says yesterday around 500 food parcels were distributed and today, around 700 were handed out.

She says depending on the size of the family, the food parcels can last up to one week.

LONMIN FIRES 235 WORKERS

Lonmin on Monday confirmed 235 essential services workers had been fired after failing to report for duty since Amcu's work stoppage began.

The company said reports of intimidation and violence only surfaced recently and the workers could therefore not explain their absence.

The platinum company said it secured an interdict forcing the essential services staff to return to work by last Monday, but this never happened.

Since the strike started, there have been reports of several attacks on unionised and non-unionised workers.