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Wildcat strike erupts at platinum mine

Around 2,000 mineworkers are reported to have downed tools on Friday.

Work at Impala Platinum’s Marula mine has stalled with around 2,000 workers downing tools. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Operations at Impala Platinum's Marula mine in Limpopo have come to a halt as workers embark on an unprotected wildcat strike.

Around 2,000 mineworkers are reported to have downed tools on Friday.

Details are still unclear at this point as mining bosses say the workers have not handed them a memorandum of demands.

However, it is believed the employees are unhappy about a wage deal they received last year.

Impala spokesperson Johan Theron says they are attempting to enter negotiations.

"The work stoppage is not being supported by any of the unions, so we don't have a formal memorandum or grievance as such. We're trying to talk to the striking workers to find out what their grievances are."

While it appears no union is behind the action, a Reuters article published a short while ago suggested the workers were members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

The unexpected move comes just weeks after the country's longest and most expensive strike finally came to an end.

Around 70,000 workers affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) refused to work for more than five months, demanding drastic increases in wages and improved living conditions.

The strike brought the country to its knees, with an economic contraction in the first quarter of 2014 - the first since the 2009 recession.

The contraction in the GDP was largely blamed on the platinum strike.

South Africa accounts for 40 percent of global platinum output and the sector plays a significant role in the broader national economy.

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