Lonmin miners going for broke

2012-09-10 20:08

Rustenburg - No mining operations will resume at Lonmin's Marikana mine, in North West, before striking mineworkers' demand for a R12 500 salary hike is met, they said on Monday.

Some of the thousands of workers protesting at various shafts around Marikana indicated they were going for broke.

A 40-year-old man who worked at Lonmin for 11 years said: "We are not prepared to back down, but if the employer comes tomorrow and says 'I'll pay R12 500', we will definitely go back to work."

Powell Dalibango, who has worked for Lonmin since 2005, said: "Do you think we are worried because Lonmin is losing money? We are not. We have lost things worth more than money in this situation."

Dalibango, from the Eastern Cape, said he was determined to continue being part of the protest, despite the financial implications of the "no work, no pay policy".

Dalibango's sentiments were echoed by colleague Simon Itumeleng, who has worked for Lonmin since 1997.

"We are not going to back down. I am paid R4 000 [a month] and it is just insufficient. I have huge responsibilities at home.

"We are going to get the R12 500 which we have demanded from Lonmin."

Another Lonmin mineworker, Luvo Ntlokwane said that even though the industrial action had dragged on for several weeks, there was no solution other than the pay hike.

On Monday, mineworkers braved the scorching Rustenburg sun to spend the day protesting for the pay rise.

A timely intervention by police saved one man from agitated protesters near Marikana.

Armed protesters wielding knobkerries, pangas, and spears walked from mine shaft to mine shaft calling for the closure of all operations.

The strikers insisted that people they met on the way join their procession. A middle-aged man saw the crowd approaching, and turned and ran. Strikers gave chase, shouting as the man sprinted to a nearby main road.

There, he was picked up by one of several police vehicles, including armoured Nyalas, which were escorting the protesters, and was taken to safety.

After a visit to three mining shafts and the hostels, they settled at an open space near the hostels. One of the leaders of the protest, identified only as Bob, spoke to them.

Around 17:00, the protesters were taken in buses, owned by Lonmin, to an open space where the Gift of the Givers had set up a camp.

A large group people gathered around the charity organisation's trucks. Women left carrying food and nappies.

On 16 August, police fired on a group of protesting workers, killing 34 of them and wounding 78. Another 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

Work stopped at the mine on August 10.

  • deicide - 2012-09-10 20:18

    if the miners do get the R12500 then im quiting my job and gonna be a miner.

      oscar.pretorius.52 - 2012-09-10 20:22

      If the miners get it then I'm afraid there won't be a mine to go back to.

      Squeegee - 2012-09-10 20:23

      They are dreaming. And they are definitely going for "broke". Fire the lot and find people who want to work. Then adjust their pay in a systematic and responsible way by coupling it to their productivity.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-10 20:25

      Why do they still carry weapons?

      oscar.pretorius.52 - 2012-09-10 20:28

      @squeegee they already do that. All this talk of how little the miners get is the media lying to you. It is a well known fact that they get bonuses based on production...why we are not being told this just makes it obvious the media is being horribly bias to a side

      husaberg.twostroke - 2012-09-10 20:58

      How is it legal to carry those deadly weapons? Fire the damn lot and get people in that wants to work. They ask why white people were not shot last week when they striked and act like hooligans = answer is cause white people dont get jobs in South-Africa. Talking about rascist actions. Reverse Apartheid if you ask me.

      nads.delange - 2012-09-10 21:24

      The poor idiots don't realise that they are just puppets in the bigger scheme of things, puppets who will either be retrenched, or strike with no pay for weeks and weeks to come, and still not get a raise. They do not realise that this has no end that's viable for them. Lonmin cannot afford this kind of demand, and the more money they lose, the more the strikers will suffer. Not that I feel any form of pity for them, they have proven that they are barbarians and deserve to have no jobs. But yea, whoever is behind this (my money is on Malema), should be shot!

      andile.vabasa - 2012-09-10 21:27

      @husaberg.twostroke, Apart from that I thought the person making that statement a a complete moron. Obviously no white people got shot, because there weren't any striking. I did not see one white person in that crowd of strikers so how in the hell could one get shot! DUH

      Chaapo - 2012-09-10 23:18

      Going for broke indeed - excuse my pun but at this rate, they will be broke for sure after the dust settles at their feet when they lose!

  • candice.matthysechristians - 2012-09-10 20:22

    I think if I work with the same attitude and demand a salary the way they do, i'd be stuck at home for good. if I'm Lonmin, I would pack up and leave this stupid country and its crazy uneducated fools

  • eddie.serane - 2012-09-10 20:23

    The management must try something better R4000 a month is jst like an insult

      lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-10 20:30

      @eddie.serane - I see you have missed quite a few news reports. R4000 a month is not what the RDOS earn. That has been confirmed by the Unions, the independent auditors. The RDOS earn R10500 a month before bonuses and are due for an increases next month, October 2012. Those who are earning R4000 are not even going underground. See how easy it is to use disinformation to start a war?

      oscar.pretorius.52 - 2012-09-10 20:33

      They are not getting only R4000. I'm so sick of this lie. That is probably what they pocket at the end of the month but after their accommodation, medical aid, taxes, pension fund and possibly living expenses gets deducted. Also they stand to earn BONUSES based on production targets....which is of course taxable. Please can someone stop spreading these lies....

      pieter.calitz - 2012-09-10 20:35

      @eddie.serane. Can the mine afford it with $7 million loss last year?

      lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-10 21:00

      p.s. - ask the Local Government what they did with the R50m LonMin handed over to them to beneficiate the neighbourhood the mine operates in. Money all mining houses are required to pay to local government, EVERY YEAR to ensure development of the surrounding areas.

      liana.loots - 2012-09-10 22:39

      eddie serane, do the sums and laugh at you own stupid comment

  • Johnson - 2012-09-10 20:27 This will shed some light to those in darkness

      andrew.martin.71619533 - 2012-09-10 21:37

      quite a scary article indeed.....

      oscar.pretorius.52 - 2012-09-10 21:47

      Enjoyed that. Very good article

  • wendy.schneider3 - 2012-09-10 20:33

    so far not one pay slip as prove?

  • carl.lewis.18847876 - 2012-09-10 20:33

    Some people dont learn - dont bring bring spears to a gun fight - you will always loose - catch a f--king wake up!!

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-09-10 20:42

    R12500 is not sustainable, Lonmin can't afford to pay that cause then they will make no profit and that's the only reason they are here in the first place. I am afraid there are going to be a lot of dissapointed miners, hungry miners, angry miners. There will be more bloodshed. This is the way of Zimbabwe, watch the whiteys start leaving.

      John - 2012-09-10 21:25

      What WE need is actual figures of expenses and income of the mine and cut out the conjecture. I think OUR tax money should be used to operate OUR mines and get rid of the investors who are only here to exploit and cart off OUR resources.

      oscar.pretorius.52 - 2012-09-10 21:36

      @John what happens when workers strike for higher salary when it is unsustainable? Then I suppose OUR tax money will be used for that. Because a government that runs a mine will NEVER say no to its worker or it would risk losing a voter base. Now seeing as the government can't run education, healthcare, etc with OUR tax money...seeing it being in charge of a mine sounds like a bad joke.

      malcolm.james.macleod - 2012-09-10 22:10

      John - Lonmin is a publically listed company and therefore publishes all financials, they are all there waiting for you all you have to do is take the effort to search for them. Having done the calculations myself I can assure you that what douglas.reid has said is correct (except not only will they not make a profit they would be running at a loss)

      lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-10 22:36

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-09-10 20:44

    Instead of the headline "going for Broke" a more suitable line should leave out the "For"

      lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-10 21:35

      What is not nearly well publicised is that in 1994 mining formed circa 68% of our GDP. In 2012 it forms just under 20% of GDP. The reasons are many. What nobody seems to be concerned about is where is the work and the revenue to come from given this constant decline?

  • PETESKEAT - 2012-09-10 20:45

    We, as a nation, are our own worst enemies. If I were an investor, I would avoid South Africa like the plague. There are plenty of places other than here where returns on investments are assured with close to zero headaches. The average SA communist/socialist/left-leaning unionist seems to look upon capital and profit as evil - the only two entities that provide growth and employment. Still, "Cry the beloved country"!

      oscar.pretorius.52 - 2012-09-10 20:51

      And I can promise you there are countries lining up now to get Lonmin to come mine in their countries.

  • dave.elmore.5 - 2012-09-10 20:47

    This whole episode, from start until this article stinks of behind the scenes manipulations....why has Lonmin management been so quiet and reticent to fire these miners, last strike a couple of months ago, bam, 13000 fired , now this? Workers are allowed to disrupt other mines, no action? Make threats against the live of miners who are working, and the whole of Lonmin management, no action? , agreement on a peace settlement, by the unions, no one returns to work, no action?

      John - 2012-09-10 21:19

      I love it when people ask questions that go under the mainstream media's surface presentation that the general populace accept as FACT when it is an OPINION that SOMEONE would like US to believe. Keep digging you'll be amazed at the dirt you dig up.

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-09-10 20:54

    Fire them, then they will understand what broke is…! With over 25% unemployment in SA these people just do not realise how lucky they are to have a job!

      lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-10 21:37

      46% unemployed in 18-35 year old sector. Ergo, terminally unemployable.

  • makarapakaplan - 2012-09-10 20:56

    Close the mine , finish and klaar , we will see very quickly who will be crying and it won't be management

  • shane.griffiths.94 - 2012-09-10 20:57

    South Africa is now the 12th most viable investment destination - Not in the World people - in Africa - its time people wake up

  • Rolisizwe Lunika - 2012-09-10 20:57

    I dont no why not give them what they want,I just dont believe the mine wont afford,for those who say the miners are lying about the small pay they get then why will they live on shacks,I just dont understand when people think only for themselves without for a second try to put themselves in these guys shoes,there are lot of people who are un-educated both black and white but working for companies that pay well and are living a better life so really these guys are not living like this by choice

      andile.vabasa - 2012-09-10 21:49

      Who said they were living in shacks?

      lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-10 22:42

      Ask the Local Government what happened to the R50mil given over this year by LonMin to develop the area around the mine. In fact the R50mil+ they have to give over EVERY YEAR to local govt whilst that mine is operational. If anyone is living in a shack it's Local Govts fault. Quick catch the Premier Thandi Modise in R1million vehicle as she heads to the airport, refusing to answer questions because "I don't have to". Or here's the wall of infamy - pick any of these and ask them where your money has gone to, year after year after year.

      alansmartSnr - 2012-09-10 23:55

      @..Rolisizwe Lunika Living in shacks..Jeez you are stupid and uninformed. Shacks with a Merc parked in the yard, TV dishes all over the roofs.. the shacks are built in their backyards of the housing that the mines supplies, including free electricity. But then again.. thats their culture, and perhaps yours which is the only logical deduction one can make from your stupid comment..and having a job at all is a blessing these days..specialy from a uneducated labourer. Get your facts and ponderance straight... Idiot!!!!

  • songezo.kilani - 2012-09-10 21:02

    I am sorry but how can unskilled workers earn R12 000 a month? R6 500 is the maximum here take it or live it.

      keith.ngobeni - 2012-09-10 21:45

      They said democracy is equal to higher wages it does not matter wether they're unskilled, can you see a shocking level of reasoning by our fellow brothers, as long as our people keep failing to prioritize education as weapon to empower themselves to fight poverty, I'm afraid we will have more of this marikana situation.

  • veritas.odium.paret - 2012-09-10 21:02

    Ironic how one of these guys says he has responsibilities at home yet he's currently starving his kids by boycotting the souce of their bread. I wonder if those kids are boycotting food until KFC makes it's way to the dinner table aswell...

  • Rolisizwe Lunika - 2012-09-10 21:06

    Investors do business in countries which are far more un-stable than south africa in places like iraq,so please stop worrying about them,they say charity begins at home,I say give them what they deserve

      oscar.pretorius.52 - 2012-09-10 21:15

      You clearly don't understand what's going on. Lets say they get a higher salary (higher than R12500 because they are getting close to that already). Then it will have to be an industry wide agreed price tag...otherwise you will have strikes at Impala and Anglo Platinum. This price increase will have to be translated into higher platinum prices which would be a good idea, right? - Wrong, because if platinum goes so high that makes autocatalysts too expensive then industries will be forced to turn to palladium. Now we produce some palladium but nothing compared to Russia, who will out compete us and make our product uncompetitive. Mines shut down, people lose jobs and our country slips into a depression. End game

      shane.griffiths.94 - 2012-09-10 21:28

      Rolisizwe you need to read what companies do where it is made impossible to do business - leave shells of businesses where it costs nothing to shut down an operation - countries like Tanzania make it possible to invest as do Mozambique - you need to catch a wake up

  • gert.vanniekerk - 2012-09-10 21:08

    Strike and die or go back to work and make a living, you can't everything you wish for this is the real world where you have to work for a living not getting everything for free

  • Bra Tebzaah Sibilanga - 2012-09-10 21:13

    Pay them, cut the bull.

      pieter.calitz - 2012-09-10 21:26

      @Bra Tebzaah Sibilanga. With what? FoodStamps? Or how about giving them the gross profit Marikana made last year? A whopping loss of $7million

  • cayle.barsby - 2012-09-10 21:29

    They should be getting paid a decent salary and def above average cause mining is one of the most dangerous and hazardous jobs in the world.

      PETESKEAT - 2012-09-10 21:40

      Any would-be worker has the freedom to choose where and in which industry he/she wishes to apply for a position. That such work may be hazardous is surely neither here nor there (if so, the employer includes such considerations into the negotiated wage). Pay should naturally be linked to productivity. At Lonmin, drill operators earn + 1 R10 000.00 per month before deductions. Decent wage in any language.

      oscar.pretorius.52 - 2012-09-10 21:52

      And to add to what Peteskeat, if you sign on the dotted line of an employment contract knowing full well what it entails then you shouldn't be entitled to protest it or complain. If you don't like the job, the solution is simple. Quit your job and move on

  • EricksonTL - 2012-09-10 23:03

    O.M.G. WHERE will they find the highly skilled, MENSA candidate type replacements necessary? Hang on! They're NOT, are there? There are millions waiting to take their places. Fire the lot of them, have them forcibly removed or charged for violating private property, and replace them.

  • mariela.fernandez.9883739 - 2012-09-11 00:34

    Those miners are really trying to make their point. This site has a good explanation of events:

  • paul.vermeulen3 - 2012-09-11 03:19

    Just nationalise the mine and give it to Khulubuse Zuma/Zodwa Mandela/Julius Malema to run. I am sure the workers will get what they want, as did the Aurora workers.

  • rodney.chenge - 2012-09-11 05:34

    Thats the whole idea Pete, miners should be paid more because almost all of them when they retire their health wld have deteriorated, suffering from cancerous diseases. It is a choice to get into mining becoz it pays more, though the labour is intensive.\r\n\r\nThe question is can the mine afford to pay the workers? If they can and still remain profitable then they are being insensitive. After all the profits are not being reinvested in SA. How can we expect the economy to improve. U cant do tht in the US, then africans are being abused. Why do i say that, because the minerals are being striped from africa. Yet its people remain poor. This strike is going to be significant in setting the precedence of future greedy tendencies.

  • stephen.j.dickson.3 - 2012-09-11 07:51

    Time for the "Trojan Horse" and a turkey shoot...............bottom line.

  • ernieschellhorn - 2012-09-11 08:37

    Have a look at how the people in India,China,Japan etc etc live and on meagre earnings and are satisfied. Should the mine close who will fund all these mining families etc. ???

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