Police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse around 1,000 protesting miners at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in South Africa on Tuesday, after a power sub-station was set on fire.
“Police had to use teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to clear the crowd,” the South African Press Association (SAPA) quoted a police spokesperson as saying.
The police and the fire brigade were alerted around 0200 GMT on Tuesday that the Khuseleka sub-station, which is on Amplats’ property in north-western Rustenburg, was set alight, SAPA said.
“Since then we have been having running clashes with groups of about 1,000 people who formed a barricade to prevent police from entering,” police spokesperson Dennis Adriao said.
By Tuesday morning, the situation had quietened down and the fire had been brought under control.
The world’s largest platinum producer, Amplats, over the weekend reinstated 12,000 mine workers who had been dismissed on October 5.
The miners were supposed to return to work on Tuesday morning but hundreds of them declined the offer and continued the strike.
The 12,000 miners had been on a wildcat strike since September 12, demanding to be paid a minimum of 16,000 rand (1,850 dollars) per month.
According to SAPA, negotiations are underway at the Chamber of Mines to form a central bargaining unit for the entire platinum sector to coordinate wages for the same jobs in a bid to avoid anger over differences in pay increases.
Strikes have recently hit several South African mines - including in the gold, coal and chrome sectors - and other parts of the economy, including lorry drivers and municipal workers.