An underground sit-in by workers at a South African platinum mine entered a third day Friday, with employees saying they’ll remain underground until their demands are met.
The sit-in at Wesizwe Platinum Ltd.’s Bakubung operation northeast of Johannesburg started on the morning of Dec. 6, with about 280 employees taking part. On Friday, about 28 workers with chronic illnesses returned to the surface, but the rest remain underground, the National Union of Mineworkers said in an emailed statement.
The workers are demanding medical insurance, a living-out allowance of 6,800 rand ($359) and full benefits for pregnant women when they are on maternity leave, according to the union. In November, the company started talks that will likely result in job cuts as it restructures its operations.
The union said it met company leadership on Friday morning to try to address the impasse, but didn’t disclose outcomes.
Separately, a group of miners have allegedly been keeping their colleagues, including 70 senior workers and contractors, underground at Gold One International Ltd.’s Modder East operations southwest of Johannesburg since Thursday evening, News24 reported, citing the mine’s head of legal, Ziyaad Hassam. It’s the same mine where hundreds of workers were stuck underground for more than two days in October over a dispute between the labor union and management.
(By Ana Monteiro)