Industrial action has halted traffic along a key road for moving semi-carbonate manganese ore from mines along the R31 between Hot-azel and Kuruman.
The R31 main road was blockaded on Tuesday morning 15 May 2018 by many trucks in a demonstration about a dispute over truck drivers' earnings. The R31 is used to trans-port huge volumes of manganese ore from several mines by road to-wards the coastal port situated near Port Elizabeth. Workers at the va-rious mines and residents of Hotazel were unable to use the road.
The relative strength of manga-
nese ore prices this year - in relation to last year - means exports are like-ly to be higher this year than in 2017 - a motivational factor for the truck drivers to demand higher wages.
A strong police presence was also on the scene of the industrial action.
The impact of the action will depend on the length of time of negotiations between the representatives of the truckers and the service companies that employ them. The truck drivers are campaigning for higher wages of R10 000 per month plus various al-lowances.
“It is premature to say what the im-plications will be. We should give it a
day or two but I am not concerned at this point – time will tell,” a source at a mining company said. Another source said the problem would be solved with no implications for the exports. “This is just normal indus-trial action, our operations are not impacted,” a source close to Kudu-mane Manganese Resources said. “This is to do with truckers and is not mining related.”
Miners South32, UMK and Tshipi were unable to comment when ap-proached.
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