The National Union of Mineworkers said the protest was triggered by attempt by two managers to kill the union at the mine. Union leaders said its members would only leave the underground pit if mine top management addressed their concerns.
Union regional leader Kobbie Lesufi said a meeting had been scheduled the union was hopeful that the senior management would listen to workers’ demands.
According to the union, workers were demanding the dismissals of the Human Resource and Employee Relations manager. The union has accused the managers of dismissing workers and targeting members and the leadership of the (NUM).
“They have suspended our chairperson, and deputy secretary, they are silencing us, but we are going ahead with the protest.
“The nightshift workers did not report on duty, they are protesting in solidarity with those underground,” said Lesufi.
Union leaders as well as representatives from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) were locked in meetings with mine management on Monday.
One of the workers said his colleagues had vowed not to come out from underground until their demand were met.
“We want the acting HR manager to be dismissed with immediate effect because he is the one who is capable of dismissing and suspending people and they even suspended our NUM chairperson,” the worker said. “The deputy secretary has been suspended as well so it’s like they are targeting the NUM members.”
Lesufi said their demand was clear: “Our members won’t come out from underground because they are looking forward for a solution whereby management must sit down with the NUM representatives.”