Barberton miners’ strike is now declared illegal

A sign to Consort Mine.

Barberton Mines have issued a Labour Court interdict against the strike that recently took place, ordering workers to return to work.

The protest brought the Barberton Mines consortium, which includes Fairview, Sheba and New Consort, to a total standstill.

The strike started after the union could not reach an agreement with mine management with regard to profit-sharing.

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Sifiso Lubisi, National Union of Mineworkers (Num) branch chairman, said the workers usually received their one per cent profit-share quarterly.

“The management told the workers they will receive R327 841 to share among themselves, but from January to March, the mines couldn’t make any profit. After dividing the money, it is R168 per employee before tax deductions and after deductions it is R143.

“We used to receive between R800 to R1 000 quarterly per employee. The workers then decided to down tools on April 13,” said Lubisi.

The workers had threatened to continue with their strike until they saw change, however, the court interdict changed their plans.

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The interdict stated, “The Labour Court has on April 16 declared that the strike the workers were participating in, is unprotected. Should they continue with the strike, they will be in contempt of court.”

It further restrained the workers from continuing with the unprotected strike on the premises of the mine.

The interdict restrained Num from encouraging or inciting the workers to participate in the protest.

It also stopped staff from blocking the entrances to the mine, preventing suppliers and non-striking employees and vehicles from entering or exiting the premises.

The workers went back to work after the court interdict was issued.

Bridget Mpande and Richard Nkosi

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