Striking workers arrested at Glencore coal mine

The three-week long strike by 160 Amcu members at Glencore's Wonderfontein mine turned violent.

FILE: Members of Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (Amcu) protest at Glencore’s Wonderfontein coal mine in Mpumalanga Picture: @_AMCU.

JOHANNESBURG - Fifty seven striking workers were arrested during a violent strike over wages at a South African coal mine owned by Glencore, the company and police said on Tuesday.

The three-week long strike by 160 members of Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Glencore's Wonderfontein coal mine in the eastern Mpumalanga province turned violent, with workers intimidating other employees and damaging nearby farms.

Police spokesman Kwapa MacDonald said those arrested were released on bail. Strikers were at the mine on Wednesday singing and protesting but were observing picketing orders, she said.

Wonderfontein Coal mine is a joint venture between Glencore and Shanduka Group, which was founded by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. The mine produces 3.6 million tonnes annually.

"While the first week of the strike was fairly peaceful, the strike has turned increasingly violent in the past two weeks, resulting in the obtaining of a court order against Amcu and its members to desist from acts of violence at the mine," Glencore said in a statement.

Amcu was unavailable for comment but their official Twitter feed confirmed that a strike at the mine was underway.

Amcu also plans a strike due to start on Wednesday at Sibanye Gold to demand higher wages.