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Deal could have saved lives - NUM

2013-01-24 14:34

Rustenburg - Lives could have been saved if a wage dispute at Lonmin's Marikana mine had been settled outside of national bargaining processes, the Farlam commission heard on Thursday.

This was the view of National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) health and safety national secretary Erick Gcilitshana, who was testifying at the commission's hearings in Rustenburg.

Evidence leader Geoff Budlender asked him if it was true that lives could have been saved by a pay settlement.

"I think so. I can't be confident in saying that," he said.

Earlier, he recalled his shock on hearing that a police shooting had left 34 workers dead.

"I got [the news of the shooting] from the radio. To me it was a shock and surprise," Gcilitshana said.

He was the first witness to be called by the NUM. He was the chief negotiator during the Lonmin mineworkers' strike at Marikana in August. He is also a Lonmin employee.

Budlender asked him what his response was to hearing the news.

"I don't recall very clearly. As I remember, we did phone the company to verify." He was asked if he took any action following the confirmation, to which he answered: "Not."

Gcilitshana will be cross-examined by Lonmin lawyer Schalk Burger.

The commission is probing the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike at the mine last year.

Thirty-four striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 were wounded when police opened fire while trying to disperse a group gathered on a hill near the mine on August 16.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were hacked to death.

Comments
  • lioneldelange - 2013-01-24 15:00

    Lives would have been saved if their demands were not so rediculous and greedy. Maybe the normal bargaining process might worked if they were not so greedy. This should be a lesson for other unions and strikers.

      rajesh.sukha - 2013-01-24 17:12

      Not sure what you are implying. Maybe you can explain how our miners are paid a thrid of what australian miners are paid, and don't cite efficincies? We sit with a historic problem of blacks being paid lower salaries than whites for the same job. this still permeates the economy today. And besides, ahve you ever asked for a minute raise?

      raath - 2013-01-24 17:40

      I think that no-one would have died if they behaved in a civilized manner.

  • sandra.j.rennie - 2013-01-24 15:20

    So is that the end of the UNIONS ? Hope so. Nothing but trouble !

  • markus.ippy - 2013-01-24 19:14

    Stop defending it . They have agreed on a certain settlement during the official bargaining time . This is a legal binding agreement . If they did not like it why agree in the first place ??? The employees give the union representatives a mandate to negotiate on their behalf ... WTF ? Why do the workers pay fees to the unions if they don't act in their interest ?

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