No one took time to listen – Lonmin workers

2012-08-14 14:24

Management at the troubled Lonmin mine in the North West knew workers wanted higher wages, two employees said.

“It is not true that the protest on Friday took them by surprise. Demands were brought to them last week,” Zamuxolo Matsheba said today.

He said rock drill operators approached management on Monday and Tuesday and presented the demand of a 12% salary increase.

“No one took time to listen to them. They then decided to march on Friday,” said Matsheba.

Lonmin spokesperson Barnard Mokwena said earlier today that the company had not received demands from workers and was “surprised” by the protests that started last Friday.

Matsheba said he had been working as a fitter at the mine for the past five years. He had to support his two brothers and a sister in the Eastern Cape after their parents died.

James Mogale (45) from Vryburg looked after six children. He worked underground and earned R4 000 a month, he said.

“I support the strike ... whether it is legal or not. I am left with nothing after deductions.”

Nine people, including two police officers, were killed over the past few days at Lonmin’s Marikana mine after a protest action that started on Friday.

The violence had been linked to clashes between members of the National Union of Mineworkers, and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which were reportedly fighting for control of local mines.

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