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NUMSA embarks on an indefinite strike at Impala Platinum in the North West

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THE National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has embarked on an indefinite strike at Impala Platinum in the North West on Monday.

The metalworkers union is striking over what it calls the gross exploitation of contract workers.

The union said Implats service providers were paying workers a fraction of what permanent employees get.

“Our members are contract workers employed by Reagetswe Mining Group, Triple M Mining and Newrak mining which are all contracted to provide services to Implats. We served all of these companies with a notice to strike,” said NUMSA general secretary Irvin Jim in a statement.

“These contractors are exploiting workers by paying them a fraction of what their permanent colleagues earn for doing exactly the same job. These contract companies grossly exploit workers’, and Impala Platinum has shamefully washed its hands off the situation.”

“Our members are on strike at Reagetswe and Triple M because the management of both companies are refusing to bargain and refusing to recognize NUMSA as a bargaining agent. We submitted our wage demands and they do not want to engage on the demands. Both companies have been ordered by the Labour court to conduct verification to confirm that NUMSA is the majority union, but they have refused to adhere to this court order.

Jim said the metalworkers union meets the threshold at the mine and workers have chosen NUMSA as their union of choice.

“Management must stop interfering in the constitutional right of workers to choose which union will represent them. Once we have secured organizational rights our members want to conclude a collective agreement based on other additional demands including wages increases and benefits, as well as other demands,” said Jim.

NUMSA claimed that two of the contracting companies – Reagetswe and Triple M – were ignoring a Labour Court ruling ordering them to do verifications which the union said would “confirm NUMSA is the majority union”.

“At Newrak NUMSA is a recognized union, but the mine management is refusing to grant NUMSA access to the workplace, and it will not allow us to represent members or hold meetings there. They are claiming that Implats does not want NUMSA at the workplace. We condemn Implats for interfering in the right of workers to be represented by the union of their choice.”

Johan Theron, spokesman for Implats, said the strike action was limited to three companies and that all three other unions with members employed at the mines “have a larger representation”.

“The biggest impact will potentially be at end of life shafts – 1 and 6 – which were due for closure, but which were extended through deployment of contacting arrangements,” said Theron. “Services rendered can be sourced from alternative resources,” he added.

“We are deeply concerned and we are working with all affected parties in order to secure a legal sustainable resolution as best we can.”

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