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Anglo American miners block shaft

Oct 08 2012 16:28

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Johannesburg - Striking miners briefly blocked Anglo American Platinum's only working shaft in South Africa Monday after the firm last week sacked 12 000 workers, a spokesperson said.

"I'm at the Bathopele shaft. Our shaft is the only one working," an unnamed female worker told public radio SAfm in a telephone interview.

"There are people outside fighting with the police. I'm shaken, I don't know how we will get out."

Around 800 people were trapped underground the shaft, she added.

The striking workers leader, Gaddhafi Mdoda, said the workers "decided to go and ask the managers at Bathopele to release the workers and join them so they can fight for what they are looking for together."

"They did have some fights with the cops, the cops tried to disperse them," he told AFP.

Authorities couldn't immediately confirm the incident.

Amplats, the world's top platinum producer, sacked 12 000 of 28 000 striking workers following disciplinary hearings on Friday, a day after a police crackdown left one worker dead.

Workers had downed tools on September 12 demanding wages of R16 070, more than double what some earn, and rejecting traditional union structures.

They have rejected their dismissal and vowed to keep fighting for their raise.

As workers target non-striking colleagues, a scared worker told SAfm it was too dangerous to take up her tools.

"We stay in the same area so if you are not at home they go and kill your family and still Amplats doesn't care," the worker said.

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