Sit-in at Northam platinum mine, SA

Monday, 11 November, 2013

Off Reuters today, news that 2,000-odd miners at the Dechaba mine, owned by Northam Platinum, are holding an underground sit-in and refusing to leave until a sacked union leader is reinstated.  It's not just a parochial issue: SA platinum producers are reportedly expecting more issues as the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) have further threatened Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin with strikes that could affect at least half of global output.

Seven thousand NUM-affiliated miners at Northam's Zondereinde minealso went on strike last week, demanding wage increases of between 22 and 43 percent and a rise in housing allowances of 69 percent.

A police spokesman updated Reuters, saying "the sit-in started at 8 a.m. on Saturday and the workers are from different unions. It is not a strike, it is peaceful, but they are refusing to surface." 

Last year was a difficult one for the sector as strikes dented SA's economic growth and led to a credit downgrade, while many people were killed in various conflicts between the mines, the security services and the AMCU and the NUM. Here's hoping things remain peaceful.