Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 04 September 2009 – Impala Platinum “’ the world’s No. 2 producer of the precious metal “’ says the majority of workers on strike at its Marula mine have returned to work, and the mine has re-started production.
But there was no output at Impala Platinum’s biggest mine, Rustenburg, where most workers were still on strike, and it was unlikely that production would take place at the mine today, according to Implats spokesman Bob Gilmour.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said the strike at both Marula and Rustenburg was continuing.
“The company is engaged in a public relations exercise, the strike at both mines is still on,” claimed NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.
Gilmour said all employees at Rustenburg’s processing plant were back at work, but could not carry out any operations because the mine was at a standstill. “Marula is operating normally, the day shift took place and the night shift went down,” he said. “The majority of the workers at Marula are back.”
Marula’s 4 000 workers joined the strike last Friday, after workers at Rustenburg had downed tools on August 24.
The NUM wants a 14% wage rise, plus unspecified transport and housing allowances. Implats has offered a 10% hike in wages, and promised to look into the issues of transport and housing.
The company, facing lower earnings and rising costs, has said it cannot afford the pay increases, which are more than twice inflation at 6.7%. The strike has so far cost Implats more than 20 000 ounces.
Reuters reports that here is concern that work could stop across the industry after workers at Anglo Platinum also rejected a pay offer this week. Another round of wage talks at Anglo Platinum is due on Monday.