Striking miners want wages tripled

2012-08-14 17:40

Johannesburg - Striking miners vowed on Tuesday to stay at the top of a hill in Wonderkop, near Lonmin's [JSE:LON] Marikana mine, until their pay was pushed up to R12 500 a month.

They claimed they were being paid R4 000 per month, and those living outside the hostel R5 000.

"We want money. We have kids to take care of," said one worker, Alfred Makhaya, from the Eastern Cape.

He had been working for Lonmin for over eight years and was being paid R4 000 a month. He was forced to leave the hostel to rent a room so he could have an extra R1 000.

"This money is too little, I am working hard and I'm being paid so little."

He said if he was not going to be paid R12 500 per month, his children would end up being thieves, because he would be unable to pay for their education.

Another worker, Lichaba Pafkalasi from Lesotho, said the R12 500 would enable him to support his family. He claimed the mine's staff shot at him at the weekend, killing two of his group.

They then decided to move to the mountain to discuss their next move. They claimed the mines sent the police to shoot them.

Earlier, about 500 men gathered on top of the mountain, armed with knobkerries and iron rods.

Local residents said an inyanga (herbalist) or sangoma (traditional healer) would perform a ritual on the mountain top and sprinkle the men with muti (traditional medicine) to "make them brave".

Nine people - two police officers, two security guards, three protesters and two other men - have been killed during protests at the mine, which began on Friday.

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  • goyougoodthing - 2012-08-14 18:02

    I have a great idea: quit.

      busichi1 - 2012-08-14 18:06

      Do you know he conditions that these men work under and the profits of he mines? Sometimes we must put ourselves in he shoes of others before we comment....

      goyougoodthing - 2012-08-14 18:13

      As I said, they have a choice, do the job or let someone else do it. That's pretty simple. Do what you need to do. How do you think the tubes in London were built - by men who needed the money. Life isn't fair.

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-14 18:16

      Precious I do hear your point but I think there are more behind this than just money. Just the fact that it is so violent makes me lose all sympathy for them. They should all work for free in a hard labour camp. Then they can bitch about their conditions. You don't kill people cause you are being underpaid. Screw them

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-08-14 18:17

      So go back to the Eastern Cape and Lesotho - see what you will earn there. But, I'm sure the witch-doctor is going to make you brave and invisible too.

      Michael - 2012-08-14 18:18

      As far as I know recruiting slaves from North Africa has been out of fashion for some time and the rule of employment in place now is a simple contract of "offer and acceptance" Given this very simple equation, if the conditions of your employment are no longer attractive, make a reasonable request for an increase - 300% however is plain, F-ing stupid! If your attempts at reasonable negotiations are unsuccessful, excersize your democratic right to F-Off and sell your skills somewhere else!

  • TheBlackRaptor - 2012-08-14 18:05

    Join the ANCYL, they get paid very well.

  • motho.batho.98 - 2012-08-14 18:07

    Strikers are right given that executives pay themselves a lot of money; however, I don't support fighting and killing.

  • Watkykj - 2012-08-14 18:10

    I personally think they should atleast double the salaries. That is quite low :/

      Watkykj - 2012-08-14 18:33

      But they should get fired, arrested and charged forvthe lives that have been taken!!

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-14 18:15

    R4,000.00 after tax, pension, uif, injury on duty. He is costing the company at lease R6,000.00, but nobody wants to buy platinum and price is very low. Close the mine and no platinum buyer will even notice it. the miners shoud do what they and the fatcats union think best.

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-08-14 18:39

      100% correct. Workers all over continue to demand higher wage's without thinking where the money will come from. If you think you can do better elsewhere JUST GO!!!

      mikenortje - 2012-08-14 20:24

      There is a 4000 ounce over supply of platinum this year amd most mines are not making a profit ..... so how can they give increase of 300%

      patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-14 20:25

      derek that is my feelings, look for beter work and pay, ask your union to help. You pay the union so they should pay the days they want you to strike.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-14 20:49

      @patricia - you are mistaken. Platinum export revenue finances our country - far outstripping both coal and gold.

      patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-14 20:58

      wolf you have lost it, nobody wants platimun becauce there is an onver suply of platinum and nobody wants it. So strike and see want the unions can do.

  • barry.mcbride - 2012-08-14 18:18

    Yeah, when I first read the heading about them wanting their salaries trebled, I thought WTF, until I saw the pathetic amount being paid, especially under such working conditions with obvious dangers. The violence, however, is not called for and must be dealt with.

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-08-14 18:41

      Everyone complains about their salaries.....but mostly they dont tell you that this is their take home pay....less all the tax, medical, garnishee orders etc.....

      patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-14 19:27

      You are mislead, this is after all other payments, taking home pay.

  • julio.sanfona - 2012-08-14 18:42

    The salary is a pittance but 300% increase is over the top. Why did they agree to work for so little in the first place? I'm sure that they are entitled to leave and take their labour elsewhere.

      djmain1 - 2012-08-14 21:02

      Out of desperation - the unemployment rate is huge and that's what employers rely on to exploit their workers.

  • Hermann - 2012-08-14 18:42

    Give them R12500 a month and cut the labour force with 80%.

      Danny Hlakong - 2012-08-14 19:15

      give them now we are homeless....

  • Zahir - 2012-08-14 18:44

    I read on moneyweb many platinum miners are in trouble due to high costs and low platinum demand most of these miners will be fired now

  • mantsho.tlali - 2012-08-14 18:45

    l dont support violence, but this money is very small, the people who have kids to take care of, seriously this is not enogh.

  • michael.m.rauch - 2012-08-14 18:51

    who needs an education when you can just work as a miner or a cleaner and strike until you earn the same as people who have studied to get where they are? 12500 for a miner? are you nuts?

  • Sally - 2012-08-14 18:52

    Have any of u actually ever gone underground?? From someone who works on a mine underground and actually knows the work these protesters do, they are getting paid exactly what their skill level dictates. Underground is not bad. There are so many measures in place to make their time underground safer and easier. They must thank their lucky stars they are not working 40 years ago!!

  • leonch - 2012-08-14 19:07

    As I have said before, If you feel you deserve more money or feel that you are not getting enough out of your job, then clearly you should be able to find a better one. The only people who threaten to leave, play on emotions and use violence

      patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-14 20:22

      Find another job that pays more, why stay with a company that you think is not paying yoou enough.

      james.m.wood.773 - 2012-08-14 20:27

      correction, the only ones that threaten to leave are those that think they can't be replaced, those of us that don't threaten to leave, well we're more valuable and not easily replaced

  • brendon.nel.7 - 2012-08-14 19:24

    Gimme gimme gimme bla bla bla

  • cecil.wright.142 - 2012-08-14 19:52

    Perhaps if there were text books, and these people actually went to school they would understand that this sort of increase is not possible. No-one forced them to sign their contracts and accept the salaries they are being paid.

  • gnatius.delange - 2012-08-14 20:12

    He said if he was not going to be paid R12 500 per month, his children would end up being thieves, because he would be unable to pay for their education. Go educate the kids in Limpopo - plenty books to be found in the wrong places. Also accept that people from the Congo - DRC - are willing to work as carguards at shopping malls. AND THEY HAVE TO PAY to stand there and wiggle hands about to survive on tips given by the people that park in the place

  • james.m.wood.773 - 2012-08-14 20:19

    R12500 without any formal qualification, I'm giong to become a mine worker! I'm a chef and going to propose that all chefs and hospitality workers go on strike, think you can cripple the mines, we'll shut down our biggest industry, the tourism industry!

  • kooskanmar - 2012-08-14 20:45

    This is a basic salary. They earn most of their money from bonusses. (Much more than the basic salary). I say fire them. Platimun mines are running at a loss with current platinum prices and a world wide excess of the metal. This is a great time to cut operational costs. These people are just looking for an excuse not to work. I say give them one.

  • adam.dennis.9 - 2012-08-15 00:28

    Im a soccer star earning R490 000 a month my fellow homeboy has been working underground for 9 yrs and earns R4 200 per month.Is this fair?

      hein.helmand - 2012-08-15 06:42

      He can't play soccer underground,not even you.You can try,from shaft to shaft.Workers are slaves of the system,and that will never change,not even toy toy.

      hein.helmand - 2012-08-15 06:46

      Hope you pay your homeboy wel. :-)

      jan.kotze.7 - 2012-08-15 12:08

      How much do you pay your homeboy gardener or domestic? I can bet less than R4,200 a month!!! All this whilst you drive around in your flashy car and eating in the best restaurants where you probably pay more for a meal than what you pay them

  • ludger.machele - 2012-08-15 04:21

    Sad indeed, but the real reason for the violence and the ridiculous salary demands is corruption. Once the rampant corruption at mines is stopped then the workers would be more reasonable in their wage demands.

  • john.rattey - 2012-08-15 09:19

    There is a lot of bad attitude towards the miners here. Sure, their behaviour leaves a lot to be desired, but that does not negate the fact that R4000 a month is shamefull. I expect a lot of the respondents here would collapse in a heap after only a few hours of underground work. It may not be so much as a mental skill, but much like a sportsman, they have gained tremendous physical skill which should be respected. Their contribution to the economy, although indirect, should not be downplayed.

      wo0two0t - 2012-08-15 14:32

      Before I had a skill or qualification my first job I earned a little over R4k because I didn’t have much to offer that couldn’t be obtained elsewhere BUT once I had some experience and or a qualification things changed. Why would a mining company pay some dude with 8 kids or whatever R12.5K when there is someone willing to work at a much lower wage – its common sense. If you don’t have a skill to offer or are too lazy to work don’t have 8 kids – plan that after your finances are in order don’t make it someone else’s problem then kill people if you don’t get your way.

  • sbu.mahwai - 2012-08-16 16:32

    R4k I agree its a pittance - nevertheless 300% increase its impossible guys

  • mike.stowell.526 - 2012-08-17 12:49

    At this level Zuma shouldnt act like a pooh pooh for his own good. He should instruct the state to take over the Lonmin mine and nationalise it for the benfit of the workers and the community around the mine. How can the greedy fat cat capitalists pay these black workers in SA R5000. Yet in their simliar operation in Australia a white worker at the same level with these black mine workers in SA is being paid a minimum of AUD$2000 a month. Seriously Lonmin needs to learn its lessons

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