Oliphant meets Lonmin workers

2012-08-28 18:00
(File, Beeld)

(File, Beeld)

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Rustenberg - Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant met representatives of striking Lonmin workers in Marikana, North West, on Tuesday.

"The meeting was fruitful. I think tomorrow [Wednesday] we will resolve the issue," she said.

The two-hour long meeting was held behind closed doors.

Oliphant had convinced workers to attend Wednesday's meeting, said their spokesman Zolisa Bodlani.

"The minister convinced us and we will attend the meeting. It is for a good cause."

On Wednesday, Oliphant will meet four unions -- the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity, Uasa and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union -- and Lonmin management in an attempt to resolve the strike.

The strikers had wanted to meet her to clarify the role the unions would play at the meeting, because they wanted to represent themselves.

Oliphant and the workers' delegates did not disclose details about their discussion, and said they would speak to reporters on Wednesday.

Lonmin workers went on a wildcat strike on August 9, demanding a monthly salary of R12,500. The strike turned violent and 34 mineworkers were killed on August 16, when they clashed with the police. Ten people including two policemen and two security guards, were killed between August 10 and 12.

In a statement, the mine said only eight percent of its 28,000 workers reported for duty on Tuesday.

"We have an eight percent average attendance across all shafts this morning. We understand that employees are waiting for the environment to be safe before returning to work."

The SA Council of Churches (SACC) described as "promising" talks it brokered between the mine and strikers.

"We have managed to bring the two parties to engage each other. There is hope," SACC president Bishop Jo Seoka said.

The workers have vowed not to return to their jobs unless their R12,500 salary demand is met.

"We will betray our comrades who died fighting for this R12,500 if we accept anything less than it," said one worker, Abram Pitso.

Security guards controlled access onto the mine premises on Tuesday, letting in only those with clock cards.

Police were posted at the mine entrance, and also monitored a crowd of workers at Nkaneng, in Wonderkop. They later peacefully dispersed.

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