Johannesburg, South Africa — 16 May 2013 – Striking workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, in the north-west province of South Africa, have resolved to return to work immediately, ending a two-day strike at the mine.
This follows an appeal by Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa, who held a meeting with the workers and told them to return to work, reports Fin24.
“There are channels to be followed… go back to work so that your enemies will not take advantage of this situation,” Mathunjwa told the workers gathered at nearby Wonderkop stadium, which is near the Marikana mine outside Rustenburg, 120km northwest of Johannesburg.
Miners were due start reporting for work for the 6pm shift last night.Workers associated with AMCU downed tools on Tuesday, demanding the immediate closure of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) offices at Lonmin.
Mathunjwa said there was a case before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on the dispute over the recognition of AMCU as majority union at Lonmin. “I am going to the CCMA on Thursday where a final decision will be made as to who is the boss at Lonmin.”
He urged workers to not give in to any threats or intimidation. “Do not let NUM confuse you… do not allow them to be a stumbling block on your way, our destination cannot be determined by individuals.”
The AMCU represents 70% of lower-level workers at Lonmin and the NUM 20%, according to the company. The AMCU wants a threshold for recognition of 30%, while the company is seeking a level of 10%, according to the union. The company employs 27,000 workers and an additional 10,000 contractors.
A lengthy strike could threaten Lonmin’s forecasts of increased output, after saying this week that it plans to exceed production of 700,000oz of platinum metals in concentrate this year.
“Lonmin is fully committed to achieving a fair and peaceful resolution of the dispute, although this has yet to be achieved,” executive vice president of mining Mark Munroe said in a statement. “The company has increased the number of random weapon searches and investigated all allegations of firearms being held in union offices,” he added. “None have been found.”
Source: Fin24 and Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.