Implats workers agree to 'salary adjustments'
WORKERS at Impala Platinum (Implats) Mine in Rustenburg have accepted that their employer will not give them a 12% increase, but will instead adjust their salaries.
The workers, who are not on strike, were expecting former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema to speak to them yesterday.
Malema, after his court appearance on charges of money laundering on Wednesday, had said he would address them yesterday to encourage them to demand higher salaries.
But Sowetan understands that his advisers persuaded him not to honour the engagement, amid fears that he would be arrested because workers had no permission to hold the meeting.
The Friends of the Youth League confirmed: "It has come to our attention that members of the South African Police Service were instructed by a politician to arrest us, since the mineworkers and event organisers were refused a permit to hold the meeting."
Despite their disappointment at Malema's non-appearance, workers held banners reading "Malema is the true leader" and "True leader is what we need".
Workers' representatives, who spoke to the miners at a stadium in shaft eight, said they held a meeting with the employer, and after lengthy deliberations came to an agreement that salaries would be adjusted.
"The employer said he gave us an increase in April and will give us another next year ... but he agreed to adjust our salaries," said workers' representative Waca Shezi.
Shezi and another workers' representative could not specify how much the adjustment would be.
Workers who spoke to Sowetan said their salaries differed between R5,000 to R9,000. Salaries of workers employed through labour brokers are as low as R2,000.
Workers said they were not on strike, and that they would wait for the adjustment before deciding on their next move.
"We are not on strike. We have to consider many factors before we can take that decision. It's not an easy thing to strike," said Mandla Njobe.
Meanwhile, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has started disciplinary procedures against workers who were still on strike yesterday.
CEO Chris Griffith said: "As indicated yesterday (Wednesday), disciplinary action against those employees participating in illegal strike action has commenced."
Workers at Amplats' Rustenburg operations went on a wildcat strike two weeks ago, demanding a R16000 salary before deductions.
On Wednesday, Griffith said the company would not consider their wage demands as these were "irrational and outside any form of bargaining".
The mine already had an agreement with the union, ending next June, and would only be re-negotiating wages in six months' time.
Workers at Gold Fields West, who have been on strike since September 9, said they were not going back to work until their employer increased their salaries to R12,500.