HomeNewsLonmin settlement remains unlikely

Lonmin settlement remains unlikely

The Marikana massacre
on 16 August saw
34 protesting miners
shot dead by police
Johannesburg, South Africa — 06 September 2012 – The chances of warring parties imminently signing a peace agreement to end the strike and violence at world number three platinum producer Lonmin’s platinum mines seem slim at this time.

Miningmx reports that only 4.2% of the company’s workforce reported for duty yesterday, while the stock was trading at an annual low of R70.50, as news started to emerge that 2,000 marching workers had warned Lonmin’s management to close the mines completely or run the risk of being killed. Even should the negotiation process lead to the signing of some agreement, it is not likely to transpire into a lasting solution.

After the massacre on 16 August, the workers appointed a committee to act on their behalf at the peace talks. They subsequently insisted on speaking for themselves, without the mediation of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

The problem is that the peace talks will inevitably lead to "substantive" negotiations – the code word for negotiations over wages and conditions of service. That is what led to the massacre in the first place – rock-drill operators demanding wage increases to R12,500 per month. For substantive negotiations to succeed, workers at the levels of underground machine operators – who are unskilled and often illiterate – need the assistance of experienced trade union officials.

The two facilitators from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration are trying to hold bilateral talks – first with the workers’ committee and then with Lonmin’s human resources heads, and then back again. But it’s very difficult to formulate the demands of the workers’ committee and then give feedback on it. Apparently no progress has been made at this stage.

Lonmin’s goal is to get its shafts back into operation. Even if the strikers to go back to work, it’s quite possible there may be large-scale job cuts at Lonmin, with some shafts closing down completely.

Source: Miningmx. For more information, click here.