Johannesburg - Talks to resolve a crisis at Lonmin's
Marikana mine were due to resume in Rustenburg on Wednesday morning, the SA
Council of Churches (SACC) said.
"Today we are meeting with the workers," SACC
president Bishop Jo Seoka, said as he was about to go into the meeting.
He has been part of a team trying to facilitate a resolution
after a strike began a month ago.
In an earlier statement, Seoka, who is also chairperson of
the Benchmarks Foundation and the Anglican Bishop of Pretoria, implored Lonmin [JSE:LON]
not to fire the workers, but to put the mine into downtime for a few months and
wait for calm.
"I hear rumours that if Lonmin fired all striking
workers that they would then close operations for several months, hoping that
the situation will return to normal," he said in a statement issued on
"This would imply that workers will return home to the
Eastern Cape and Transkei and that eventually the company will be able to
employ again and resume production for Lonmin."
Seoka said the striking workers had lost their leader
Mgcineni Noki, who was known as 'the man in green', or 'Mambush'.
"This needs to be considered by the (Commission for
Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) CCMA and, if they are not able to deal
with the situation, that someone like Charles Nupen from the International
Labour Organisation should be brought in to assist workers to understand the
power dynamics and help them to find a way forward. Otherwise they might lose
Forty-five people have been killed in events associated with
the strike since August 10. Ten people, including police and security guards,
died in the week before police opened fire on protesters, killing 34 of them on
August 16. On Tuesday, a body was found near where strikers had gathered
outside the mine.
The strikers have said they will go back to work only if
their salaries are increased to R12 500.
The CCMA confirmed it would meet the parties again on
On Thursday, three unions signed a peace accord in an
attempt to stabilise the situation at the mine. All the parties, including the
mine, agreed to reopen a wage agreement for negotiation.
A precondition for the negotiations, which were to have
started on Monday, was that everyone went back to work.
This did not happen, and Lonmin has reported attendance
figures of under 10%.
The CCMA has, nonetheless continued meeting representatives
of the strikers to persuade them to comply with the peace accord.
The workers selected their own committee to represent them
at the negotiations.
There has been no production at the mine, which employs
around 28 000 people, since August 10.
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