Lonmin miners return to work

2013-05-16 11:04

Striking workers at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana have returned to work, the company has said.

“Lonmin confirms that 83% of employees returned to work for the night shift last night. Preliminary figures for the morning shift are 86%,” said company spokesperson Sue Vey.

She said discussions were continuing about the issues that formed the basis of the workers’ demands.

“The company believes that returning to work and allowing engagement to continue through established channels is in everybody’s best interests,” said Vey.

Workers affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) went on a strike on Tuesday, demanding the closure of National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) offices at Lonmin.

During an address at Wonderkop stadium yesterday, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa ordered striking workers to return to their posts by 6pm, and told them there were channels to be followed to voice their demands.

“Go back to work so that your enemies will not take advantage of this situation,” he said.

North West police said no incidents of violence were reported overnight.

The strike followed the death of Amcu North West regional organiser Mawethu Steven, who was shot dead at a tavern in Photsaneng on Saturday.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said no arrest had yet been made for the murder.

NUM regional coordinator Mxhasi Sithethi said its members had also returned to work. One of its shop stewards was killed at the informal settlement of Nkaneng, also on Saturday.

“The strike has been called off. We have not received any report of intimidation,” said Sithethi.

A memorial service for Steven was expected to be held at the Karee stadium at 4pm on Thursday. He would be buried in Elliotdale in the Eastern Cape on Saturday.

Mathunjwa was expected to attend the service.

He was also expected to report back to members about Amcu’s allegation that Lonmin was delaying its recognition as the majority union at the mine.

The dispute was to be heard at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Mathunjwa has said the union represents 70% of the Lonmin workforce.

Last year, 44 people were killed during a strike at Marikana.

They included 34 people shot dead by the police on August 16, and 10 people – including two policemen and two security guards – killed the preceding week.

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