Natal Portland Cement (NPC) has gone on strike against the National Union of Mineworkers over a wage dispute, the union said on Tuesday.
"The company approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration for the resolution of the wage dispute and has yesterday been awarded a certificate of non-resolution, paving the way for the company to strike against the workers," said union spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.
He said this meant the company could lock them out, but would still have to pay them.
"It’s just a strategy to say ’we can act, we have got this power’. But it is a power that is not power, it’s
just to humiliate the workers... it’s not a train smash."
The union wanted a 10 percent wage increase across the board, amongst other demands. The company was offering four percent.
NUM’s KwaZulu-Natal co-ordinator Bhekani Ngcobo said: "It is historic that a company can declare a dispute with a trade union and receive a certificate to strike. Let them strike, the ball is in their court."
NPC managing director Piet Strauss told Sapa: "We are busy with negotiations".