Lonmin offers bonus to get workers back to work

2012-09-18 08:50

Striking Lonmin workers have been offered a once-off bonus in the hope of getting them back to work, a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) negotiator has said.

“They have been offered R1 500 once-off, which is available [until] tomorrow for them to report to work,” said Eric Gcilitshana.

Employees were considering the offer, he said.

Talks aimed at ending the strike, which began with normal procedural warnings on August 10, are set to resume later today.

A revised increase amount was taken to the company today. It was not the R12 500 workers originally wanted.

“I’m very positive and hopeful,” said another facilitator, Bench Marks Foundation chairman Bishop Jo Seoka, who is also president of the SA Council of Churches.

The Bench Marks Foundation is an independent faith-based organisation monitoring corporate performance, and is involved in the mediation process at the mine.

“Our talks were difficult on Monday. We were engaged in talks until 1am,” said the striking workers’ leader Zolisa Bodlani.

“We are going to report back to workers at the Wonderkop Stadium at 10am, and proceed to the negotiations,” he said.

He denied a news report that workers had tabled an R11 000 demand at the negotiations.

“I cannot tell you the figure we are still negotiating,” he said.

Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) director Nerine Kahn told SAfm today that were was “incredible commitment” from all parties to try and find a resolution.

“We know that the whole nation is watching,” she said.

“We also would like everybody just to be a little bit patient, because it’s important in the negotiations that you follow procedures and try and make sure you keep the confidentiality... so people have the opportunity to report back to their constituency and they can make decisions as opposed to hearing from the public domain.”

Yesterday, worker representatives said the striking workers were “not married” to their wage demand of a R12 500 monthly salary.

Kahn said she was hopeful that an agreement would be reached soon, and said there was “significant commitment”.

“Everybody in the room is trying to find each other ... They are trying to find ways of ending this impasse.

“We are always hopeful. Negotiations can take time. We think there will be a solution ... We hope,” she said.

Workers at Lonmin went on a wildcat strike on August 10. The strike turned violent and 10 people were killed in the first week.

Six of them were members of the NUM, two were security guards and two were police officers.

On August 16, 34 workers were killed when police opened fire on them, 78 were wounded.

Afterwards, 270 workers were arrested.

Another man, reported to be a NUM shop steward was found dead last week, bring the number of people killed since the beginning of the strike to 45.

The Lonmin strike has since spread to other platinum mines in Rustenburg and to a chrome mine.

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