Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVEIW.COM — 04 September 2009 – Mineworkers at Impala Platinum (Implats) “’ the world’s second-largest platinum producer “’ attacked union leaders who tried to persuade them to return to work, and a top union official was injured in the incident.
Shane Coshane, a spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) “’ South Africa’s biggest mineworkers’ union “’ said divisions were showing within the union. “Factionalism is starting to emerge. There was a fight at Rustenburg, and some leaders were attacked,” he added.
Reuters reports that NUM deputy president Pete Matosa was injured in the attack and taken to hospital. This was confirmed by Implats and union officials.
“There were stones thrown by some rogue elements among the workers, and he was hit in the face,” Implats spokesman Bob Gilmour said. “I understand that he was trying to persuade them to take the offer and return to work, but some guys were angry with that.”
Coshane said leaders were convinced that Implats was unlikely to budge from its pay offer of a 10 % increase and agree to the workers’ demands for a 14% wage rise, plus transport and housing allowances.
Gilmour said that there was still no output at the biggest Implats mine, Rustenburg. The strike at Impala Platinum “’ which supplies a quarter of world’s platinum “’ is in its second week.
There is still concern the strike could spread after workers at Anglo Platinum also rejected a pay offer. Another round of wage talks at Anglo Platinum is due on Monday.
No formal wage talks with Implats were planned for today, after discussions earlier this week failed to bridge the divide, according to Gilmour. He added that most workers on strike at the smaller Marula mine had returned to work, production had re-started and the mine would run a full day and night shift today and tomorrow. “The company’s metal refinery in Springs, east of Johannesburg, has not been affected by the strike,” he said.
The strike has cost Implats more than 20 000 ounces so far. The Rustenburg mine produces about one million ounces a year.