Striking west coast mine workers suspended

Tormin miners and community members outside the Lutzville Magistrate’s Court earlier this month. Photo by Juliette Garms.

Barbara Maregele

19 October 2015

About 25 workers at the Australian-owned Tormin mine on the west coast, who went on strike last month, were suspended on Sunday.

This is according to National Union of Mineworkers provincial organiser Abubaker Fredericks. He said that some of the miners have been charged with misconduct, others intimidation and damage to company property.

According to NUM, nearly 200 Tormin employees went on strike on 4 September over wages and working hours. On 10 September, clashes with police and security at the mine led to the arrest of 27 workers and west coast community members. Charges against 17 people were dropped. The remaining ten were released on R500 bail each and are due back in court on 3 December.

The mineral sand mine extracts zircon and other minerals from sand on the beachfront near Lutzville, 350 kilometres north of Cape Town. It is owned by the Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC), which also owns the Xolobeni titanium project in the Eastern Cape.

The company refused to comment.

Fredericks said NUM planned on challenging the suspensions at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). NUM is expected to release a detailed statement later today.