Lonmin fires 235 workers

2014-05-19 18:01

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Lonmin has dismissed 235 essential services workers.

“These are employees who have been absent since January 23, so the recent intimidation does not explain their absence,” Lonmin spokesperson Happy Nkhoma said today.

“A court order to this effect was obtained on February 27, requiring all essential workers to return to work by May 12.”

Under a recognition agreement signed with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), employees engaged in essential services may not participate in any strike.

Nkhoma said the company was not aware of a hit list.

City Press reported yesterday that there was a hit list containing names of Lonmin staff who had returned to work and their union affiliation.

It was apparently obtained from staff who responded to SMSes the company sent to workers in a bid to end the platinum mining strike.

“We are unaware of such a list. We have a database of employees who have indicated their intention to accept [our wage offer], which is kept highly confidential,” Nkhoma said.

He said even if such a list existed, it could have not come from the company’s database.

Nkhoma said: “Nowhere in our SMS campaign had we asked for union affiliation.”

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala, and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic salary of R12 500.

They have rejected the companies’ offer that would see a minimum cash remuneration of R12 500 by July 2017.

The remuneration includes living-out and holiday leave allowances, but excludes medical and retirement benefits, and any bonuses.

The strike has cost employers about R18.6bn in revenue and employees about R8.2bn in earnings, according to a website created by platinum mining companies, www.platinumwagenegotiations.co.za.

Nkhoma said the number of people reporting for work was not as high as they had hoped.

“We understand the every employee that reported for duty braved high intimidation and threats to do so. We shall release statistics once it is safe to do so.”

Police and security forces had helped in creating a safer environment.

He said the company would fight Amcu’s bid to stop the company communicating directly with workers, to be heard in the labour court in Joburg tomorrow.

He said a recognition agreement signed with Amcu did not prohibit the company from communicating directly with its employees.

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