Mineworkers in Limpopo protest over wage increases

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Workers affiliated with the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa have taken industrial action at the Annesley andalusite mine in Penge, outside Burgersfort in Limpopo.

They are demanding, among other things, an increase in their salaries, better working conditions and payment for overtime.

The workers downed tools after reaching a deadlock with the employer at the CCMA.

Singing and picketing outside the Annesley Andalusite Mine at Segorong to demand salary increment. The workers demand a 12.5% salary increase — while the employer is offering 6.5%.

They are also demanding a monthly allowance of R7 000, for a 7-day mine week — known as full calendar operations.

The employer wants that to remain at the current R2500 per month.

The mine has been operating since the 1960s and currently employs 150 permanent workers. The workers’ union, GIWUSA, secretary Teddy Thobakgale says the mine is making good profits but is unwilling to pay the workers fairly.

“We have tabled the demands. Initially, they were proposals but now they have reached a state whereby they have become demands after we have reported them at the CCMA. Their demands were 12.5% increase. Then the other one we are demanding a job grading process for employees that are working in the mine for fair remuneration because currently where we are we are struggling because we realise that those that are working in the mine are just remunerated based on favour.”

Two of the striking workers, Happy Mokoena and Victor Moraba, demand a living wage because they are impacted by the high cost of living.

“I’ve been working here since 2010 and we are earning little money. Our basic is not reaching ten thousand at least if we can get the basic salary to then thousand rand because nowadays our children have a lot of demands and even us we have a lot of demands. We need the twelve percent increase and conops allowance and nightshift allowances and housing allowances until everything is done.”

The Imerys mining company — which owns Annesley Andalusite Mine — was contacted for a comment but had not yet responded at the time of broadcast. The workers have vowed to continue with the strike — until their demands are met.