In partnership with
  • Busting Uber myths

    The ehailing firm is constantly trying, succeeding - and sometimes failing, says Ian Mann.

  • Trapped in a democracy

    The very people elected to bring benefits to all are undermining SA, says Solly Moeng.

  • Marikana spectre

    Five years after the bloody massacre calls for justice are growing louder, says Terry Bell.


Amcu snubs Lonmin peace deal

Sep 06 2012 14:13

Company Data

Lonmin plc [JSE:LON]

Last traded 14
Change 0
% Change 3
Cumulative volume 275418
Market cap 0

Last Updated: 01/01/0001 at 12:00. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

Related Articles

Peace deal 'a step in right direction'

Marikana miners refuse peace pact

Lonmin miners sign deal to return to work

Marikana miners mass on hilltop again

Lonmin miners overpower police

Miners threaten to kill Lonmin management


Johannesburg - Militant Amcu union refused to sign a "peace deal" with platinum company Lonmin [JSE:LON] on Thursday, undermining government-backed efforts to open pay talks and end a four-week strike scarred by deadly violence.

While Lonmin, the world's number three platinum producer, signed the accord with the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) and other labour groups in the early hours, representatives of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) declined to put their name to the agreement.

"We didn't sign," Amcu National Treasurer Jimmy Gamma told Reuters, declining to give further details.

Amcu-affiliated miners at the Marikana platinum mine where police shot dead 34 striking rock-drill operators last month said they were not interested in a deal that failed to include a basic wage hike to R12 500 a month - double what they now earn.

"I was there to talk about R12 500 not some peace accord, so we did not sign any document," Molefi Phele, who represented striking workers, told Reuters Television.

Lonmin said it was open to talks with AMCU and striking workers on their wage demands - provided they returned to work by a Monday deadline - even though analysts say the company can ill afford such an increase.

The London-headquartered company said only 1.7% of workers reported for duty at its South African operations on Thursday with miners saying they have been threatened with death if they went back to their jobs.

On Wednesday, more than 3 000 striking miners marched through streets near the mine, 100 km northwest of Johannesburg, in the largest protest since the August 16 shooting, South Africa's bloodiest security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994.

There was no violence, though some of the stick-waving demonstrators threatened to burn the mine to the ground and kill its management if their demands for better pay and working conditions were not met.

Lonmin shares, which had lost 25% of their value since August 16, jumped around 5% in early trade in Johannesburg and London amid hopes that the "peace deal" would open up a path to a settlement, despite Amcu's holding out.

"With this agreement the moment has arrived for Amcu and the striking workers to show whether or not they can function in a peaceful environment," said Gideon du Plessis of the Solidarity union of skilled workers.

Challenge to power

Marikana accounts for the vast majority of the platinum output of Lonmin, which itself accounts for 12% of global supply of the precious metal used in jewellery and vehicles' catalytic converters.

World platinum prices, which spiked more than 2% as the Marikana carnage unfolded, have continued to rise, and hit $1 584 an ounce on Thursday, the highest in nearly five months.

The strike has raised worries that labour unrest on the platinum belt could spread to the gold sector. South Africa is home to 80% of known platinum reserves and is the world's fourth-largest gold producer.

The violent rise of Amcu in the last 12 months is also the most serious challenge to the unwritten pact at the heart of the post-apartheid settlement - that unions aligned to the ruling ANC deliver modestly higher wages for workers, while ensuring labour stability for big business.

President Jacob Zuma cut short a foreign visit in the immediate aftermath of the Marikana shootings, but his wooden performance and heavily staged-managed meetings with victims and miners has damaged his "man of the people" image.

Zuma faces a re-election battle as leader of the ANC in December, and the crisis has given ammunition to critics who say he is compromised by links to industry and the powerful union movement, of which the Num is a leading player.

* Follow Fin24 on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

lonmin  |  amcu  |  num  |  mining unrest



Read Fin24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot

We're Talking About...

Savings Month

It's never too late to start saving. Visit our special issue and add your voice.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

The proposal to nationalise SARB will

Previous results · Suggest a vote