Mineworkers at Scotia Talc Mine have downed tools in Barberton, Mpumalanga. The workers are staging an underground protest over wage increase and better working conditions.
The strike action has entered its 9th day.
— Tumelo Machogo ® (@IamTumelo) April 16, 2019
It’s a protest action like no other. More than 40 mineworkers affiliated to Amcu are on strike. The miners claim the employer promised an annual increase, but so far has failed. They also allege they earn below the minimum wage.
Amcu Shop Steward, Emmanuel Silinda says that they earn about R3 200 monthly.
“We earn about R3 200 a month which is not enough for us. We do have kids that go to school. We do have families which we support. We need the employer to tell us or come with any increment for us. That will be enough. We want travelling allowance because here we don’t even have medical aid.”
The workers claim they’re treated unfairly and that both males and females share the same toilet.
Miner Dumisile Malande says that the company is taking them for granted. “They are taking us for granted. Anything that we say. If you are going to the office and say, ‘Your PPE is damaged.’ They say, ‘What have you done with your PPE and that PPE is for men not women.’”
Another miner, Elvis Khoza, says that they will stay underground until their demands are met.
“The CEO ran away. It’s nine days since we have been underground. We will stay there until we get what we want, even if we died there.”
The mine offices are locked and the SABC News‘ attempts to get a comment from the mine were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, the miners are adamant they won’t resurface until their demands are met.