Rustenburg - Lonmin [JSE:LON] miners whistled as they returned to work
on Thursday, ending a nearly six-week wildcat strike, which has left scores of
Jubilant workers alighted from buses at the Marikana
platinum mine's Karee shaft, in Rustenburg.
"I am happy that I am at work. It had been six weeks of
uncertainty. I'm happy with the increase although its not the R12 500 we
demanded, but it is better than what we used to earn before this strike,"
mineworker Thebe Metsi said.
He was looking forward to his first day underground after
"We have not been working for a long time and everyone
is eager to start to break the rocks and make up for the lost time," he
After clocking in, workers assembled at the Karee Stadium
waiting to be briefed on how the shift would operate.
They would undergo a refresher course before they could
The workers returned to work after accepting a wage of hike
of between R9 000 and R13 000.
They went on strike on August 10 in demand of a monthly
salary of R12 500. The strike turned violent and 46 people were killed.
In terms of the wage agreement, general workers will receive
R9 611, winch operators R9 883, rock drill operators R11 078 and production
team leaders R13 022.
Meanwhile Lonmin said it hoped to communicate from now on
with workers "within structures and rules".
"We've got to work at rebuilding trust and getting
processes into place so workers deem they can work through their unions,"
Lonmin acting CEO Simon Scott told Business Day newspaper.
"We are going to act within structures and rules and it
isn't our intention to continue talking directly to workers."
Lonmin workers were returning to work on Thursday morning
after a 42-day wildcat strike, during which 46 people died.
The strike ended when the company offered them a 22% salary
increase, which was partly negotiated by a workers' committee, which did not
want union presentation.
Business Day said Scott was hesitant to reveal the full
effect of Lonmin's increased wage bill.
"The overall wage increase varied between 11% and 22%,
so the cost is somewhere in between... the long-term fundamentals of platinum
are excellent, but in the short term the business is going to require very
careful management due to increased labour costs," he said.
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