Lonmin inquiry should consider exploitative pay – BMF

2012-08-20 12:43

The Lonmin mine shooting inquiry should look at the wages of workers, the Black Management Forum (BMF) has said.

“The BMF hereby calls for the terms of reference to include the issue of exploitative wages versus executive pay in the country, especially in the mining industry,” deputy president Tembakazi Mnyaka said in a statement.

“We further called for this investigation to consider some of the underlying causes of the tragedy and provide pointers into how as a nation we can be able to avoid such tragic incidences in the future.”

On Thursday, 34 people were killed when the police opened fire on striking workers, some of them armed, while trying to disperse them after a week of violent protests.

Another 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, had by then been killed in violent protests at the mine in the week leading up to Thursday.

The police ministry said 78 people were injured and 259 arrested. The 259 protesters were expected to appear in the Garankuwa Magistrates’ Court today.

On Friday, President Jacob Zuma announced that a judicial commission of inquiry would be established to uncover the truth behind the Lonmin shootings.

The BMF said the attitude of shareholders to issues such as mine safety and remuneration of workers, should be investigated.

The conduct of the police and the strikers should also be probed.

The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry supported the judicial commission.

“Although the news of the event has adversely affected perceptions of the South African labour market, the president’s response will do much to mitigate the ‘fallout’ from the event,” CEO Neren Rau said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the HBR Foundation called on the Lonmin board to apologise to the country and change its corporate governance.

“It has failed to handle the internal matter and must also stop threatening workers by giving them an ultimatum,” chairperson Bontshitswe Mothopeng said in a statement.

Mothopeng said such behaviour would strengthen calls for the nationalisation of mines. The mine should start discussing wages with unions and address workers’ living conditions.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union over recognition agreements at the mine.

Workers also wanted higher pay.

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