Marikana strike concerning – minister

2013-05-16 09:00

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant expressed concern at the strike at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana in the North West.

Workers associated with Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) downed tools on Tuesday, demanding the immediate closure of the National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) offices at Lonmin.

“I would like to appeal to the leadership of both unions (NUM and Amcu) to put the interests of the country and workers above their narrow interests,” Oliphant said yesterday in a statement.

“The issue that seems to have stoked the latest trouble are the kind of regular issues which should have been resolved without resorting to such drastic action like the downing of tools.”

She said workers had to be aware that unprotected strikes could have serious consequences for themselves, their jobs and the future of the mine.

“I would also like to appeal to Lonmin management to do everything possible to make sure that the problems are resolved as soon as possible without further damage,” Oliphant said.

“It is in the best interest of the country for both unions and management at Lonmin to demonstrate required levels of leadership and industrial relations management.”

Striking workers resolved to return to work immediately yesterday. Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa held a meeting with the workers and told them to return to work.

“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.

Mathunjwa said there was a case at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on the dispute over the recognition of Amcu as majority union at Lonmin.

He said: “I am going to the CCMA tomorrow [Thursday] where a final decision will be made as to who is the boss at Lonmin.”

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