Premier welcomes Lonmin wage deal

2012-09-19 07:32
Workers of Lonmin's Marikana mine. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

Workers of Lonmin's Marikana mine. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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Johannesburg - North West Premier Thandi Modise has welcomed the wage settlement agreement reached between Lonmin and its Marikana mineworkers on Tuesday.

“Beyond the wage settlement, parties have a responsibility to rebuild trust among themselves so that the healing process assists closure to a tragic chapter in the history of wage negotiations in the mining sector."

She urged workers to reorganise themselves within union structures for collective bargaining and thanked the SA Council of Churches and traditional leaders for playing a significant role in resolving the conflict through mediation.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) confirmed the end of the Lonmin Marikana which lasted over a month.

"Worker representatives informed us this evening that agreement has been reached, and they have signed the agreement.

"They have accepted Lonmin management's latest offer and will return to work on Thursday 20 September," said CCMA director Nerine Kahn, whose organisation facilitated the negotiations.

CCMA happy with outcome

Lonmin management had earlier refused to confirm the agreement saying it was not yet official.

The CCMA expressed its appreciation to all parties involved in the Lonmin wage dispute for their contribution to developing a mutually acceptable settlement.

The CCMA intended to conduct a specific internal review of the Lonmin negotiations process which would be shared with the Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant.

Striking miners had accepted a 22% pay rise and would return to work on Thursday, worker leader Zolisa Bodlani said earlier.

Reporting back to workers at the platinum mine in Marikana on Tuesday, Bodlani said the increase would be applied across the board.

Rock drill operators would now get R11 078 a month before deductions, production team leaders R13 022, and operators R9 883.

Workers would further receive a once-off bonus of R2 000.

‘Relief’ for the nation

President of the SA Council of Churches, Bishop Jo Seoka, who was also part of the workers' negotiations, said the offer was closer to the R12 500 the workers had been demanding since they went on strike on August 10.

Opposition parties described the end of the strike as a "relief" for the nation.

Trade union Solidarity welcomed the agreement but warned that it set a dangerous precedent and illegal actions to enforce wage increases could occur at other mines in future.

Solidarity said it hoped the agreement would bring an end to the intimidation and violence at Lonmin and result in order and stability at all South African mines.

- SAPA

Read more on:    lonmin  |  ccma  |  thandi modise  |  mildred oliphant  |  mahikeng  |  protests  |  mining unrest  |  labour  |  mining
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