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AngloGold miners demand R18 500 salary

Oct 05 2012 12:25 Sapa

Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo /City Press

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Fochville - Hundreds of striking mineworkers were gathering on a hilltop at the Mahalesuku informal settlement outside Fochville, North West, on Friday morning.

The workers were awaiting a mass meeting at the AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] Mponeng gold mine. They had been on strike since September 25 for better wages.

"How can we go back to work if our demands are not met?" workers' representative Rodgers Motlhabane said.

They wanted a monthly salary of R18 500.

He said their strike at Mponeng shaft one was joined by workers at Savuka mine shaft two and Tautona shaft three, all AngloGold Ashanti mines.

Strikers carried sticks and iron rods and sang. Others sat quietly under umbrellas, trying to shield themselves from the sun.

They had been meeting on the hill since September 20 as they were not allowed to hold meetings on mine premises.

Workers' representatives had had one meeting with management so far, to discuss security during the strike.

"Since (the) strike started nothing has been vandalised. We don't have to vandalise anything. We will act peacefully until the strike ends," Motlhabane said.

"The biggest thing is our wages. We feel that we are being underpaid."

Another worker's representative, Tshepo Motloi, said they had not had any contact from former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

"We don't have any contact with Julius Malema. There's no influence from outside."

Several weeks ago Malema spoke to mineworkers at several mines in support of their strike, and called for a national strike by mineworkers for at least four days a month until their salaries improved.

When he tried to speak at a mine near Rustenburg police stopped him and escorted him from the North West town. He had not spoken publicly to miners since.

One of the striking workers said he wanted to buy a house, but due to the strike was now unable to do so. He had worked at Mponeng for six years and had two children, aged six and two.

"You never know what is going to happen after this," 26-year-old Johannes said.

He was concerned workers would be fired or the mine closed down.


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