Marikana – Lonmin’s Marikana miners on Friday rejected a R986 wage increase offer, Eyewitness News
Sapa earlier reported that Lonmin [JSE:LON]
has offered striking workers a R900 increase to R5 500 a month for entry-level workers, "very far" from their demand of R12 500, according to National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni.
"Lonmin is offering to adjust the rate of entry-level (workers) from R4 600 towards R5 500, an increase of about R900. Then all operators will be upgraded, by one grade up," Baleni told the BBC World Service radio Newsday programme.
The offer was made during talks with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), Lonmin management, unions and strike leaders on Thursday evening.
The increase would have seen entry-level workers earning R5 586 salary. The miners have been demanding salaries of R12 500.
Striking miners say the R986 increase is part of an existing 3-year wage agreement that will be implemented in October.
Baleni said the latest offer was far from the workers' demands and he was unsure of how rival union, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), would respond.
"It will depend if they are really pragmatic and willing to look at the interests of those workers, as well as the interests of our economy. We hope every player in these negotiations will take that into account," Baleni told the BBC.
The wage increase offer was the first one made by management and stakeholders are now expected to return to the negotiating table this afternoon to discuss a higher deal, ewn reported.
Operations at the mine have been low, with less than 2% of Lonmin’s workforce reporting for duty.
Workers at the Lonmin mine have been on an illegal strike for four weeks, demanding a salary of R12 500.
Last month, the protest turned violent and police shot dead 34 protesters and injured 78. A total of 45 people have been killed in incidents related to the strike.
Baleni said he was worried about job losses in the platinum sector and said 4 800 jobs had already been lost due to illegal strikes.
He was also worried about violence and intimidation during these labour disputes.
Baleni said the labour unrest spreading throughout mines in the North West was being orchestrated for political reasons.