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Two Rivers miners end underground sit-in

By Kea' Modimoeng | Oct 21, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

WORKERS won the tug-of-war at Two Rivers Mine after they staged an underground sit-in from Sunday night, demanding the reinstatement of four colleagues who were fired for allegedly failing "to prevent a rock that fell on their colleague's foot".

On Monday morning 100 workers refused to resurface after their shift ended and were later joined by another 140. The workers spent 40 hours underground, only resurfacing yesterday morning.

Two Rivers Mine is co-owned by African Rainbow Minerals and Impala Platinum in Mpumalanga.

Executive manager at the mine, Chris Schmidt, said on Monday that the company would not budge under pressure from the union since the "relevant platform for negotiation was in place at the mine".

The company later relented and reinstated the dismissed miners.

National Union of Mineworkers spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said his union was not in support of underground sit-ins but said he was "glad" that the members got what they were looking for.

"Though we don't condone what the workers did, it shows how courageous they are, as they were even prepared to stay underground until Sunday," Seshoka said.

Protesters faced dangers underground such as high temperatures and the possibility of gas leakages. - Additional reporting by I-Net Bridge


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