We want money, demand miners

2012-10-16 15:01

Carletonville - Defiant gold miners on Tuesday vowed to extend their strike for months to come unless pay demands are met, after talks aimed at ending a wave of crippling work stoppages broke down.

More than 2 500 Harmony Gold Mining Company [JSE:HAR] workers were among those rallying on Tuesday, unfazed by the prospect of losing their jobs after mine owners and union officials said that last-gasp talks to end weeks of rolling wildcat strikes had collapsed.

Workers spurned a wage deal reached last week by negotiators of the employer body Chamber of Mines of South Africa and union leaders.

The employers have ruled out a further proposal and no new talks are planned.

"We want money! The strike continues!" Moses Ngwekazi told thousands of workers gathered at a stadium near the Carletonville mine southwest of Johannesburg.

"No one is going to fire us, the strike continues. The employer can't just decide to suspend talks without offering an alternative," Ngwekazi said.

Tens of thousands of gold mine workers have been on strike for weeks, halting production.

After Monday's deadlock the Chamber of Mines left the decision to individual companies to fire the workers or radically restructure operations.

"If a solution is not found, the strike can continue for up to three months. We don't care," said mineworker Makhalemele Motaung.

Harmony workers are demanding pay hikes to R18 500 per month.

Meanwhile in a pre-dawn raid, police arrested 40 striking workers who had seized equipment worth millions of dollars at Anglo American's Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] mine west of the country.

They were part of nearly 300 workers that Kumba sacked on Monday following an illegal strike they launched nearly two weeks ago at its Sishen mine in Northern Cape province.

"At about three o'clock this morning, we entered the mine premises where the illegal strikers were keeping the mine equipment in their possession.

"We managed to arrest about 40 of them," said Lieutenant Colonel Hendrik Swart, police spokesperson for Northern Cape.

Sishen in a statement confirmed the "illegal occupation of the company's Sishen mine has been brought to an end by the police who removed the strikers in the early hours of the morning".

Police regained possession of and handed over heavy mining equipment - including 88 haul trucks - that the striking workers had seized since the strike started on October 3.

The miners had threatened to destroy the equipment if a pay increase of R15 000 for all workers, above what they already earn, had not been met.

Those arrested will face contempt of court charges after they ignored a Labour Court order to vacate the mine and release equipment worth R3.3bn, police said.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-16 15:09

    Yes give them money! Their very last pay cheques and let them starve there after! This greed must stop soon as their are millions with NO income whatsoever praying for any jobs daily.

      JaredVN - 2012-10-16 15:38

      Note that these utter moron "wekkas" are not demanding salaries of R18k per month, they want INCREASES of R18k per month. Even the most dim-witted, dagga-befuddled miner must realize that these demands are insane. Fire the lot of these useless "wekkas" and replace them with far more intelligent and more disciplined Chinese and Indian immigrants.

      giancarlo.groenewald - 2012-10-16 15:44

      @JaredVN no don't get anybody to go into the mines, let robots do it! Australian Mines are apparently fully robotic, only the programer and technicians for the servers go down into the mine to check to see if everything works.

      marc.schnehage - 2012-10-16 15:52

      I agree with sean.wolf. Don't pay them a cent. They have broken an agreement reached with their employers ONLY LAST WEEK!! How on earth can they ever be trusted again. Fire the lot of them on the basis of breach of contract!

      denis.dendrinos - 2012-10-16 17:06

      Look at how well Kumba have paid their employees and gave them shares etc, and all to get a big ol slap in the face.....

      husaberg.twostroke - 2012-10-16 18:51

      Fire the whole damn lot. Plenty of other people in South-Africa wants to work for less even. Thes idiots got greedy and now it is affecting the South-African ecnomy and potential investments heavely. Fire them without pay,

  • paul.c.wadsworth - 2012-10-16 15:12

    "We want money" now ain't that funny, so do I, but I'm willing to work for it!

  • shane.erlank - 2012-10-16 15:12

    more retrenchments coming, more mines closing, yep you go guys, good plan!

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-10-16 15:13

    For goodness sake fire the buffoons already!!!! Enough is enough. Or are companies going to sit back and wath the economy go down the plug?? There are plenty of people who really want to work. These are a bunch of tsotsi Malema followers!

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-16 15:22

      they are already fired.

      Dawn Campbell Gibson - 2012-10-16 16:00

      Shirley - you are quite right about so many wanting the work, but with AA, it wont take long until they too start striking. or. the new workers will be killed by the fired ones.

  • boom.afridi.56 - 2012-10-16 15:17

    give more money watch and watch how quickly it will get busted. after that the next round of wage demands can begin.

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-16 15:27

      all becasue we have irresponsible unions and political leaders who brainwash the uneducated people into thinking that the pie is big enough to go round. Newsflash : By killing the goose that lays the golden egg, much worse hardship in in the future. The poorest people always suffer the most. If there is a finger to be pointed - it is at the Govt who in 18 years, have not managed a step forward in educating the population. Without education, SA will never rise above any other nation in Africa ... in fact, as we are one of the world's least productive nations, we will descend into absolute poverty. But the question is Jack, do the fatcat corrupt politicians care? I'm ok Jack...

  • braamc - 2012-10-16 15:27

    Let them starve

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-10-16 15:29

    If these miners and the unions think these big players will take this rubbish forever they're wrong. Eventually they'll just pull out and seek greener pastures and we'll be left with nothing. Then I suppose the Chinese will take over, and that will become a very quick and unpleasant learning curve for our very expensive SA labour force who are under the illusion that they're poor and oppressed.

  • marnus.lamprecht - 2012-10-16 15:30

    With his time nearing the end Pres Zuma can leave the best legacy of any post-apartheid president if he puts in motion plans to amend the constitution that it is illegal to strike. Unfortunately some of the people in this country of ours can't live by the \rules\ of being free, so then the freedom they have to do what they want needs to be taken away. At first they slowly suffocated out economy but now they are doing it fast. What sensible company would pay unschooled labor with limited skills R18k per month? above that in a country where unemployment is the norm.

  • jason.heineberg - 2012-10-16 15:33

    Logic101, if you want more money, refuse to work.

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-10-16 15:37

    "Money for nothing" only happens when you are in a rock band. Go back to work or stay poor. Union and youth leaders are out of touch with the basic worker.

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-10-16 15:40

    Call their bluff or forever be a hostage of these ignorant economic terrorists.

  • ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-10-16 15:43

    R 15 000 salary increase .. wow, they must really think a lot of themselves to be demanding 25 000 odd salaries. and this is from Kumba who is a star in the transformation arena where every miner was given shares in the company, and where analysts reckon every miner is close to being a millionaire based on those shares alone. google it if you dont believe me

      bob.mcmillen.564 - 2012-10-16 15:58

      ryan, yes you are 100% correct, the funny thing is do they realise they are striking from a company that they are actually shareholders, do they realise there won't be any dividend or at least greatly reduced dividends, caused by striking workers and they, the shareholders, are the striking workers, can you get anything more stupid in this life.

  • david.boswel - 2012-10-16 15:46

    Trade unions must be made illegal.

  • John.Yossarian22 - 2012-10-16 16:04

    Clearly these people don't have much of an understanding of the real world. Maybe they are being used, and don't have a clue it's happening. For once there might really be a "third force" at work? Either because of BEE deals gone wrong, or the ANC struggle to get to the trough. I just hope the manipulators get exposed.

  • charles.szente - 2012-10-16 16:05

    I just read the wall street journal article, mentioned in another news24 item. Http:// It really makes for sad, stark reading. And as a South African that cares deeply about this country, I wonder how many realize that this, along with everything else that has happened, will inevitably impact us all. Yet the deafening silence from our highest leaders, the denials and the lack of willingness to do the right thing is frightening. It is attributed to Edmund Burk as saying "The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing." While I cannot make a moral judgment on the general goodness or badness of the leadership of country, I can say that as a citizen I want to cry for what this beloved country of mine has lost, and is losing - yet so little seems to be done to stop it. When so many have the power to do so. We, as South Africans, have the ways, the means, the resources and the opportunities to make this country truly successful on a global scale. What we seem to lack, at least from my limited perspective, is a meaningful common vision, driven by deeply ethical leadership.

      johleneh - 2012-10-16 17:05

      Charles, I wish I could give you 10 thumbs up

      johann.enslin.9 - 2012-10-17 00:48

      Make that 20 thumbs up

  • hermann.hanekom - 2012-10-16 16:07

    Let them go and become casual gardeners.

  • jan.plank.35 - 2012-10-16 16:12

    You want money ???? Then work for it. You are not working with the government and looting the state coffers.

  • cecilia.vanderwesthuizen.5 - 2012-10-16 16:20

    Sigh... These demands for doing nothing but yel a load of bull each day, throw innocent motorists with stones and eating snot. Companies must be fed up with all the damages. Just fire them while no work -no pay prevailes

  • joubert.joep - 2012-10-16 16:20

    Ask Juliarse Dilema he got millions from tenders and he is the reason behind this crap.

  • Jaco Liza Venter - 2012-10-16 16:31

    All unemployed South Aricans Black,white,indian there is job openings at all mines in SA.I will work for R10.000 a month it is allmost double my salary what i ern currently

      Steven Trollip - 2012-10-16 16:55

      Go for it Jaco

  • Michael Kleber - 2012-10-17 07:01

    When you apply for a job you are aware of the salary its not as if you are only aware of your salary after you have worked for a month . So if you are not happy with the salary dont take the job

  • dallas.eckert - 2012-10-17 07:39

    It is time for the Companies to set a prescedent. If it take for months for the miners to learn the lesson then so be it. We can't have our economy held ransom every year by an uneducated mob.

  • Elton.duplooy - 2012-10-17 12:38

    we want we want we want......eish

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-10-17 13:30

    I demand that pensioners do not take a knock every time the interest rate is dropped. We have suffered enough. We are being punished because other people buying expensive cars when in fact they cant afford them.

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