Lonmin talks falter 'over venue'

2012-09-11 09:27

Johannesburg - A delegation of Lonmin workers used the venue as an excuse for failing to arrive for wage talks at the violence-hit platinum mine, a company official said on Tuesday.

Barnard Mokwena, executive vice president of human capital and external affairs at Lonmin platinum mine, said the choice of venue should not hold the crucial talks hostage.

"The venue cannot be used as an excuse at this stage at all. Nobody has a problem to change the venue," Mokwena told SAfm.

It was already agreed last Thursday that wage talks would happen on Monday, he said.

"So it really baffled us when we gathered, as we had all agreed... that the delegation of employees did not show up," said Mokwena.

"A bishop [speaking on behalf of the delegation] came later saying the workers were not aware of the meeting...

"All we got through the bishop is that the workers had no intention to come through, and also that they did not like the venue."

The meeting was to be facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. It was hoped that the company, unions and worker representatives would thrash out an agreement following a R12 500 salary demand from miners.

Labour unrest at the Rustenburg mine in the North West has left 44 people dead. About three weeks ago, police shot dead 34 protesting miners. In the preceding week 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed at the mine.

The violence was apparently sparked by rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), whose members were demanding monthly salaries of R12 500.

According to a peace accord signed last week, workers were to return to work on Monday to allow wage talks to continue.

But less than 7% of employees reported for work.

On Monday morning, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa told SAfm the union would attend the CCMA-facilitated meeting which was scheduled to start at noon, and which in the end did not materialise.

"Why would the venue literally keep us hostage at such a difficult moment?," asked Mokwena.

"If they wanted a different venue, they had four days to say, 'look, we don't want the venue, change the venue to a different place'.

"They had four days to express that. Why did they have to wait four hours into the meeting to express that?"

CCMA officials would speak to Lonmin workers on Tuesday and explain to them what was happening.

"Today [Tuesday], we'll give it another go... we'll keep trying and trying and trying," said Mokwena.

"There is no way we can resolve this situation if parties do not come to the table."

He said no deadline had been set for the talks to be finalised.

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  • FeebleGastro - 2012-09-11 09:46

    Those stupid "workers" actually have the right to vote... God help Africa.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-09-11 09:54

    No rabbit present?

  • juan.prinsloo.750 - 2012-09-11 09:57

    Lonmin should cut their losses and sell their mines to the Chinese. The Chinese will know how to handle them. For starters the Chinese prefer their own workers.

  • Rebecca - 2012-09-11 10:02

    these people have no intention of going back to work but to cause unrest driven by that idiot Malema. Fire the lot of them, they don't deserve to have a job let alone get an pay increase.

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-09-11 10:03

    Excruciatingly boring!

  • jurie.nel.3 - 2012-09-11 10:06

    This issue is now really getting out of hand. Lonmin does not have much maneuvering room as there is an oversupply (one year's worth) of platinum on the international market, and demand is dwindling. The workers are demanding a greater slice of what they perceive to be a cake of unlimited size - however, it is a small and ever-shrinking cake. What is needed now is NOT talks between Lonmin and the strikers, but the strikers need a talking-to by a leader from whom they will take the above message - only THEN can civilised talks between the workers and Lonmin management be resumed. But where will such a leader be found? Malema? Zuma? Any cabinet minister? Motlanthe? Ramaphosa? Sexwale? Phosa? Methinks not. The strikers are hell-bent on confrontation, and I believe confrontation is what we'll see - on an unprecedented scale.

  • iceman196 - 2012-09-11 10:09

    anything not to work, go sit in your shebeens, lazy lots

  • osmaseko - 2012-09-11 10:10

    People on this forum are saying fire the workers..heheheheh do you know that should it go that way mroe liveswill be lost? at the moment it's hard for those who are employed there and want to work. What more should these people get fired and new people hired? I don't wanna see that day...!

  • sisie.indola - 2012-09-11 10:11

    Once upon a time these miners actually had the sympathy of the public, but now they are showing what idiots they really are. The venue is not an excuse, just fire them - there is an employment recession on the horizon let them be the first to experience it. Their families and "other families" are not going to be happy, they have gone one month without pay and now the second month is looming - shame i have no pity at all for them. Fire them and hire people who actually want to work, okay in 3 months those workers will be striking for the same reason, because these people think the world owes them. Pity they are wasted oxygen.

  • demi.davidson.18 - 2012-09-11 10:12

    I no longer empathize with these workers. They don't want to work, they are out to cause trouble (if it is in fact the employed miners out there and not malema rebel-rousers). I have tried to get a secretarial job as a PA to managing directors/directors and top salary offered (gross is + - R8,000) I have certificates/diplomas which to employers are meaningless. In these economically challenging times its hard to find any kind of employment let alone my trying to demand min. R12,500 - I SHOULD BE SOOOOOOO LUCKY!

  • robynne.els.1 - 2012-09-11 10:18

    Its about time somebody at lonmin grew some balls and fired the whole lot of them! If they can't even show up then why keep trying, just fire them and advertise all their positions to people who could use the job!

  • marcus.vermaak - 2012-09-11 10:26

    Fire them, close the mine, what will they wright down in their CV's? "Unemployed for 5 years, learned no skills, live in Rustenburg" Sure, that will look awesome. You will get R12 500 p/m with that CV.

  • Lana Van Der Berg - 2012-09-11 10:37

    Why do I get the feeling they don't want to go back to work? Trying to find any excuse to delay going back.

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