Talks to stave off more Marikana strikes fail to lift off
Talks to end a month-long strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana failed to proceed as scheduled on Monday after workers didn't turn up for work.
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) said not all workers had returned to work, which had been a pre-condition for pay talks to resume.
"The CCMA facilitation is dependent on a return to work by all workers in the Lonmin Marikana wage dispute," it said a statement.
Lonmin reported a slow start on Monday, with 2.1% attendance for the only shift it was able to run at present, the 7am shift.
This rose to 6.34% after 9pm and remained at that level until midday, when wage negotiations were to have started.
This was across the 11 shafts of the Marikana complex, which includes Eastern Platinum Ltd and Western Platinum Ltd.
The CCMA, a statutory body which helps broker resolutions in labour disputes, said the existing binding collective agreement, which was valid until next year, had been reopened for a new set of negotiations.
This was with the consent of all the signatories to the existing agreement – the National Union of Mineworkers, UASA, Solidarity and the employer, Lonmin.
This was done in good faith and in the interests of all workers and Lonmin.
"However, the return to work of all striking workers is a pre-condition of such intended negotiations," the CCMA said.
A group of around 5 000 people marched to Lonmin's Eastern Platinum mine on Monday.
They told reporters that work would not continue until they were given a pay increase to R12 500.
A leader of the protesters, Anele Nogwanya, said they would go to different mining shafts in the area to demand the closure of all operations.
"Mining activities at the Eastern Platinum mine have to be halted as the workers there are underpaid," he said.
"We have now buried all our fallen colleagues. Now is the time to honour our promise to them of getting the R12 500.
"If we go back to work without getting R12 500, our deceased colleagues will turn against us."
On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers near the Marikana mine, killing 34 and wounding 78. Another 10 people were killed the preceding week, including two policemen and two security guards.
The company, which is considered one of the world's largest producers of platinum group metals, loses around 2 500 platinum ounces per day of no production.
Work stopped at the mine on August 10.
Earlier, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which did not sign the accord, said it would participate in Monday's negotiations, but could not guarantee that its members would return to work. – Sapa