Sit-in strike workers surface at Finsch mine

Mynbou & Nywerheid / Mining & Industry

The National Union of Mine-workers (NUM) confirmed on Friday 22 September 2017 that 67 NUM members who staged a sit-in underground have resurfaced from underground at Petra Dia-monds Finsch Mine.
"We can confirm that all the mem-bers are out of the underground and that they are safe and one was taken to hospital by ambulance due to hy-pertension and that the other four complained that the medication that they took was not working," said Te-bogo Kgomongwe, NUM Finsch Mine Deputy Branch Secretary.
The branch leadership, NUM members and together with the re-gional leadership, are very pleased to report that they managed to bring out those comrades from under-ground, unharmed, with no discip-linary action to be taken against them, their jobs are safe and that the strike will still continue. The workers are still aggrieved as a result of the employer not showing interest in their demands as tabled," Mr Kgo-mongwe added.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members at Finsch Mine in Northern Cape have vowed to continue with their legal strike until Petra Diamonds address-
es their demands. The strike started on Monday afternoon 18 September 2017 after the employer failed to reach an agreement with the NUM.
Tebogo Kgomongwe, NUM Finsch Mine Deputy Branch Secretary, con-firmed that the issue is about the wages and other issues.
"We declared a wage dispute with the company and decided to go on strike on Monday afternoon. The strike is still going on. There are some members who are still under-ground since Monday. The mem-bers felt that if the company does not meet their demands they will remain underground. The total number of members who are underground is 67 and amongst them, there are also females, and those who take chronic medication, but the company has refused to allow us to take their medication underground," Mr Kgo-mongwe said.
"What angered the 67 members to refuse to come out of underground was when Petra Diamonds threaten-ed to withhold the bonuses that are due to be paid end of September. The company has also threatened to retrench them," he added.
The members of NUM demanded the following :
A 10% wage increase across the
board to be paid every month for three years.
A housing subsidy and living out allowance of R1500 to be paid every month for three years.
An increase of R1000 be paid to all employees who are part of the in-house medical aid scheme and 100% medical aid subsidy to em-ployees who do not belong to the in-house medical aid scheme.
Family responsibility leave to be increased from 3 to 5 days and 4 days must be fully paid and 1 unpaid.
Annual leave days to be increased from 19 to 21 days for Petra Dia-monds Ekapa and Koffiefontein ope-rations.
The pension fund must be in-creased from 7,5% to 9% per em-ployer's contribution.
Equal job value as per employ-ment equity act.
Various demands regarding long service awards.
The NUM Finsch Mine branch leadership was scheduled to have a press conference on Tuesday 26 September 2017 at the mine to update the media about the ongoing strike, however no further communi-cation was since received by the time the Kathu Gazette went to the printers.