Close to a hundred striking workers who have been on strike to demand fair treatment with their employer have backed down this week, following threats from lawyers.
Workers belonging to the JCI Mining group, a sub-contractor for the Aveng Moolmans mining group at the Nkomati Mine between Badplaas and Machadodorp in Mpumalanga, previously demanded that JCI Mining increase their housing allowance from R1 200 to R6000 but backed down this week for R1 500.
The employer will now add the R300 on top of the R1 200 to make it R1 500.
The company will also add 10.5% to all workers who earn less than R30 an hour and 8.5% for those above R30 an hour on salaries.
The accepting of a R300 increase by the 69 JCI workers comes after a threat issued out by JCI lawyers to workers on Wednesday this week.
Workers have been on strike since 5 September 2016 and are expected return to work before next week begins.
013NEWS has learnt that JCI lawyers on Wednesday this week told striking workers outside Nkomati Mine gates that they violated the laws on the first day – 5 September 2016 – when they began their strike.
Lawyers charged that five of the 69 workers violated the law of South Africa on the Monday morning of 5 September 2016 when they took the company’s bulldozers and dumptrucks and dumped heaps of rocks in front of Nkomati Mine gates.
“Now they say the workers will be arrested,” Amcu branch chairman Comfort Ngwenya told 013NEWS on Thursday morning.
“They say if we don’t accept the offer they put they will go ahead with laying charges against those workers who took the bulldozers and dumptrucks and allegedly did those things. They say that was theft of company properties,” Ngwenya said.
According to Ngwenya, a CCMA certificate a week ago “had conditions” that “if we strike we should be far away from the mine and not intimidate the other workers and disturb productions. So we accepted that but we didn’t work since then and now the employer is coming back with his lawyers to say, ‘look, you people broke the law’ and the workers are now scared of jail, so we accepted the offer,” said Ngwenya.
An agreement signed by the union and the company soon after the threats and which 013NEWS has seen says JCI Mining agreed they will now add R300 to the R1 200 that workers earn in housing allowance and say “the company does not plan to introduce a medical allowance”.
“We were going into negotiation with the employer. We started at R6000, because of the cost of living, and seeing he makes a lot of money but there was a time when it decreased on the negotiating table, R4000 to R3 500 and he said it was too much, he delayed and now he puts us on the corner and say will give us a 20% on the 13th cheque,” Ngwenya said.
(edited by ZK)
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