Parts of the North West’s Barplats Crocodile River mine were closed for maintenance and repairs on Monday following a suspended sit in by workers, the mine said.
“The management of Crocodile River Mine confirms that the mine has temporarily suspended operations for at least a 24-hour period (effective from the night shift on Sunday, 8 May) following an illegal sit-in by around 175 employees on Friday, 6 May/Saturday, 7 May,” a statement read.
“The suspension is necessary to ensure the safety of the workplaces after damage was caused by these employees. The full extent of this damage is being evaluated.”
The sit in came during wage negotiations between mine management and unions.
“… This illegal industrial action follows the dissatisfaction of some employees with the revised wage offer tabled by the mine on 5 May 2011,” the mine said.
The mine’s concentrator facility continued to process ore from the mine’s stockpile on Friday and Saturday.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the North West said it and its affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers, had convinced workers to suspend the sit-in, which began on Friday, and had secured the intervention of the department of minerals.
Cosatu North West spokesman Solly Phetoe said a planned meeting with management on Sunday did not happen as expected and that 3000 workers were “locked out” on Monday.
Their demands included that all contract workers be employed at the mine, that those protesting since Friday not be dismissed, that dismissed union leaders be reinstated, and that there be no victimisation of workers.
They also alleged that female employees were forced to take long unpaid maternity leave.
Cosatu called on the company’s board of directors to intervene, or they could seek solidarity support from other workers.
The mine is situated near Brits.