2 minute read
3 Apr 2014
1:36 pm

Amcu arrives at Melrose Arch

Hundreds of Amcu members arrived at the Athol Oaklands entrance of Melrose Arch in Johannesburg shortly after noon on Thursday as part of their wage protest.

FILE FICTURE: Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members seen during a march. Picture: Alaister Russell

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members gathered opposite Willow Brook Close and Athol Oaklands Road.

They walked the few hundred metres singing, dancing, waving branches and blowing vuvuzelas. The entrance to Melrose Arch was closed and a small stage was erected at the entrance. Speakers were set up on the side.

The group gathered in front of the stage and sang struggle songs. Those in front lay down while those at the back danced, and waved umbrellas, sticks and branches.

A sign proclaiming “R12,500. If Lonmin cannot afford this amount, [it] must leave our country!!!” was displayed.

Media gathered on the stage to take pictures and video footage.

Amcu was expected to hand over a memorandum at Lonmin’s offices in Melrose Arch at 1pm.

Some protesters wore shirts with slogans including: “They died for a living wage R12,500. The struggle continues”, “forward to a living wage”, and “Amcu. No amount of oppression will deter our freedom of association”.

“Amcu for decent work. Decent wage. Workers unite for your rights,” was printed on others.

Johannesburg metro police said Atholl Oaklands Road would be closed to traffic from the M1 freeway to Kernick Avenue from 9am to 2pm.

As the group started its march up Athol Oaklands a few people came out of their office buildings and took pictures with their phones and tablet computers. Three men climbed into the roof of a nearby building to see the protesters.

Around 11.45am six buses full of Amcu members arrived and parked with the other 40 buses already there. Police were parked in a field opposite where the group gathered.

A group of about 40 police officers dressed in riot gear stood in two rows behind the stage inside Melrose Arch.

The union has said its protests would expand to Parliament after the Easter holidays if its demands were not met.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum downed tools on January 23 to push for a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

They had so far rejected a wage increase of up to nine percent.

The companies, in turn, rejected Amcu’s revised demand that the R12,500 could be achieved over four years.

Last month, mining bosses said the strike had already caused irreparable harm, and losses of an estimated R10 billion in revenue.