It’s been over two weeks since 34 of their colleagues were shot by the police at the Marikana Lonmin mine. The striking miners seem to be not backing down with reports that they are threatening to close down the mine over wage dispute.
The workers are also threatening to kill the management if they don’t stop operation.
A peace accord has been signed which means that workers will return to work.
However one of the unions Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) did not sign which begs the question: How many workers will return to work?
Forget the unions, all the workers at the mine are fighting for the common cause, which is pay rise. If those workers under National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) who have signed the peace accord return to work it could be chaos again. Those workers under (AMCU) would feel betrayed by their colleagues.
Looking into the situation, it’s highly unlikely that the company will meet the worker’s demand of R12 500 anytime soon. Some of the miners are concerned that the company has not said anything to them.
At this stage there are no winners because the miners are not making any money since they are on strike. On the other hand the company is not generating any profit due to low production.
Since both parties are losing, one would think that Lonmin will table an improved offer even though it would not be R12 500. At that point of time the effects of the strike would be taking its toll on the workers and they end up agreeing on that increase.
As much as both parties remain defiant on their current position, the bottom line is that they cannot keep up with this situation for too long. It’s now a case of how long can the company keep up with low or no production and same applies to workers with no pay.
Betrayal by Zuma
President Jacob Zuma has not helped the situation either. He launched a judiciary inquiry to look into the matter. The miners are feeling let down by the president because they feel he is not helping them at all.
Zuma’s position becomes quite tricky because if he urges the miners to get back to work, it would reinforce their argument that he is selling them away.
He does not want to do that because those are some of the people who put him in power. In this way he can not be on the side of Lonmin.
At the same time it seems difficult for him to back the miners in their struggle because he does not want to upset investors or unsettle mine companies because they are crucial in the country’s economy. He wants them to believe that South Africa is the right place to invest.
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