Mineworkers stage sit-in underground

THE culture of underground sit-ins as a way for mineworkers to express discomfort is growing in South African mines.

This comes as more than 100 miners staged an underground sit-in at Two Rivers Mine yesterday, while about 500 protested on the surface demanding the dismissal of a "discriminatory" mine manager.

In July, more than 1500 workers engaged in a similar sit-in at Crocodile River Mine and were later dismissed for an illegal industrial action.

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

The mineworkers, who refused to come out of the mine when their night shift ended at 6amyesterday, had been demonstrating throughout the night.

The grievance between the manager and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) came after he fired four workers whom "he argued had been unable to prevent a rock that fell on their colleague's foot".

NUM representative Doctor Matheso said: "We call on Two Rivers Mine management to ensure that the manager concerned is dismissed ."

ARM executive Mike Schmidt said the industrial action was illegal .

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the union was not in support of the underground sit-in but also criticised the company for being "racist".