Labour Court orders striking mineworkers at Implats in Rustenburg to return to work

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The Johannesburg Labour Court has ordered that striking workers of the Reagetswe Mining Group, contracted to Impala Platinum Mine in Rustenburg in the North West, must return to work immediately. The court issued an interim order finding that their strike is unlawful.

Workers of three sub-contractors, affiliated to NUMSA, have been on strike since Monday, and are among over 4 000 mine workers currently on strike. The demands of the striking workers include wage increases, medical aid, transport and a housing allowance.

NUMSA says they will return to court at a later stage to argue whether the interim order should be made final or not, and workers are still adamant that they will not return to work until their demands are met.

Spokesperson for the union, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, says that the order by the court applies to only one of three striking groups and as such they will continue their strike.

“As you remember this is a strike of three contractors, namely Reagetswe, Triple M Mining and Newrak. The case of the other two companies is still outstanding as they have not yet been heard in court, and what this basically means is that the sub-contractor of the other two companies still have the right to strike,” stated the spokesperson.

Mineworkers say that their wages are not sufficient to meet their living expenses.

“We want money. We work very hard underground but we earn peanuts. We have children, food is expensive, from here to Taung is expensive,” exclaimed a miner.

Triple M Mining says NUMSA is overstepping its bounds

Triple M Mining whose workers have also downed their tools as part of the same protest, has distanced itself from the strike. The CEO of the company, Sipho Xipu, asserts that their company has a 3-year wage agreement in place with AMCU which is their majority union, and says all their employees within the bargaining unit are remunerated according to this collective agreement.

“We have a valid closed shop agreement with AMCU which prevents the proliferation of unions within the company. NUMSA has no organisational rights at Triple M Mining. As a result of the agreements in place we cannot discuss substantive issues with minority or non-recognized unions,” concludes Xipu.

NUMSA members on strike at Implats: