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Labour
Feb 23 2012 2:11PM
 
Implats losing millions in strike
Implats fired 17,000 workers after they went on an unprotected strike demanding that the salaries of rock drill operators be increased to R9000 a month. Picture: Reuters
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About R400m a month is being lost at the Impala Platinum Mine (Implats) near Rustenburg because of an ongoing strike, the mine said on Thursday.

"We are losing about 3000 [troy] ounces a day, that's about US1700 [about R13,124]," Implats marketing executive Derek Engelbrecht said.

He said there could be a 50% drop in April platinum deliveries.

"Because of the intimidation [by striking workers], there has been a drop. It is still too early to quantify, but my best guess is that it would be a 50% drop."

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said more striking workers were coming forward to be re-employed on Thursday after the union negotiated with the mine.

"We can estimate that over 10,000 workers have been re-employed. The process is still ongoing, and we will have clear figures by the end of the day," he said.

"People are reporting back for work in huge numbers, and there have been no incidents today. I'm told we will be having a meeting later to address all the issues [about the strike]."

Workers began gathering at Freedom Park near the mine by noon on Thursday for an address by Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Vavi was expected to urge workers to return to work and allow negotiations with NUM to continue.

Men carrying knobkerries were seen under the shade of umbrellas along the railway line between Freedom Park and No 8 shaft prior to the address.

One of the mine's boardrooms was burnt down during protests on Wednesday morning.

The protests, linked to a five-week long strike at the mine, have claimed two lives so far.

Implats fired 17,000 workers after they went on an unprotected strike demanding that the salaries of rock drill operators be increased to R9000 a month.

Some workers, most of them at the mine's north shafts, refused to return to work unless they were paid at least R9000 a month.

Most NUM members in the north shafts also did not want to be represented by the NUM, claiming the union had failed them.
 
-Sapa

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