MINEWORKERS are being intimidated and prevented from reporting for duty at Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats) mines in Rustenburg by people who do not work at the mines, National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said on Monday.
"The little-known fact about the strike is that non-employees could very well be involved," he said.
"The continuing intimidation at Amplats tells us the strike is no longer about wages…. It shows that those who are not employed at the mine are preventing mineworkers from returning to work," he said.
Amplats, the world’s largest platinum producer, has extended Monday’s deadline for workers to report for duty by another 48 hours, after 12,000 workers who embarked on an unprotected strike in August failed to report to work.
With talks at a stalemate, the miner has moved the new deadline to Wednesday.
Amplats has been losing about 3,600oz of platinum a day during the nine-week strike at Rustenburg Amandelbult and Union operations.
Gaddafi Mdoda, a member of the strike committee, said he has not seen workers wanting to return to work being intimidated, but blamed the company for calling people back to work while there were still outstanding issues.
"We have tried to hold a meeting this morning (Monday) with the comrades about there being no intimidation, and they responded positively," Mr Mdoda said.
Mr Mdoda said the striking workers were still rejecting the offer made by Amplats after the miner proposed a revised offer last week.
The new offer consists of a one-off allowance of R4,500 to be paid to each qualifying employee, comprising a R2,000 loyalty or hardship allowance and a R2,500 safe start-up allowance which will be paid two weeks after the employees have returned to the mines and have re started actual work.
Amplats management said it had been approached by Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in an effort to explore options to facilitate the return to work of employees.
Cosatu would engage with the strike committee and recognised unions during the discussions, which would focus solely on exploring options to encourage employees to return to work, the company said.
The discussions would include wage negotiations, it said.
Should the discussions not be successful, Amplats would proceed with the dismissals and the company would also finalise the disciplinary hearings at the Union and Amandelbult operations, which could lead to additional dismissals, Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said on Monday.
"We appeal to our employees who are part of the illegal strike action to respect the dignity and human rights of their fellow colleagues," Ms Sithole said.