Johannesburg, South Africa — 10 June 2013
Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum producer, wants union leaders and government ministers to help it quell rising tensions around its operations in South Africa after the killings of union officials in recent weeks.
The company fears a repeat of last year’s violence that led to a lengthy unprotected strike in which 44 people were killed, with 34 of those deaths at the hands of police who shot protesters in August, BDlive reports.
The company has stepped up the presence of its security personnel, along with weapon searches at its operations near Rustenburg.
“We cannot just stand by and watch as our employees and community members are murdered,” said Natascha Viljoen, executive vice-president in charge of the processing division and sustainability. “We saw murder and violence last year and we have a duty to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Lonmin outlined four steps to secure peace and stability as two unions fight for membership at the company’s mines. It wants union leaders to stop inflammatory talk and actions.
It also wants more police presence in the area, which it will bolster with its own security services.
Viljoen said weapons had to be removed from the area and stopped from coming in. “Lastly, we need public leadership. We call on all leaders to appear with us on joint platforms and personally deliver message of peace and calm. Lonmin invites the cabinet task team to come to the platinum belt immediately to start this programme.”
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has demanded that Lonmin conclude a recognition agreement with the union or it will down tools from June 15.
AMCU treasurer Jimmy Gama said the union had decided that the only way to proceed now would be to down tools legally. Should Lonmin fail to conclude the agreement, the union planned to issue a 48-hour strike notice on Wednesday and to down tools by Saturday.
Viljoen said Lonmin had not received an ultimatum from AMCU. She added that the company had offered AMCU the same recognition rights the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) once held, but this had not yet been accepted.
Source: BDlive. For more information, click here.