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Union: Probe role of fired Lonmin workers

Aug 20 2012 20:09 Loyiso Sidimba, City Press

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Johannesburg - Trade union Solidarity blames fired Lonmin employees for the violent illegal strike that hit the mining giant's Marikana operations.

Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis said the illegal strike was not a labour issue.

'Our investigations show that dismissed ex-employees at Lonmin and Implats and people who come from nearby communities are behind this,” Du Plessis said.

He disputed widely reported claims that rock drill operators earn R4 000 a month, saying their packages were just over R10 000 with the inclusion of bonuses.

Du Plessis asked the judicial commission of inquiry announced by President Jacob Zuma to probe alleged incitement of violence by former Lonmin employees as well as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's (Amcu) role in the closure of mines in the North West.

Du Plessis blamed Amcu for the violence that left a dozen mineworkers dead at the Khwezi and Impala Platinum mines earlier this year.

Solidarity has demanded Lonmin not to fire workers who were not at work this week because many stayed away due to intimidation.

Lonmin has given workers until 07:00 on Tuesday to return to work.

However, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) wants the ultimatum to be extended until this weekend.

NUM national secretary for health and safety Erick Gcilitshana said workers must only be on day shifts and not night shifts.

'The safety of workers is very important," Gcilitshana said.

Lonmin acting chief executive Simon Scott said the company wanted operations to return to normal.

"We're fully committed to getting to the bottom of this," said Mark Munroe, Lonmin's executive vice president for mining.

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