Johannesburg — Lonmin has offered striking workers a R900 increase to R5500 a month for entry-level workers, "very far" from their demand of R12,500, National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni said on Friday.
"Lonmin is offering to adjust the rate of entry-level [workers] from R4600 towards R5500, an increase of about R900. Then all operators will be upgraded, by one grade up," Baleni told the BBC World Service radio Newsday programme.
Baleni said this was far from the worker's demand of R12,500 and he was unsure how they would respond to the company's proposal.
"It's very far," he said.
"We will hear how workers are responding to the offer, given that negotiation is give and take."
Baleni said he was unsure of how rival union, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), would respond.
"It will depend if they are really pragmatic and willing to look at the interests of those workers, as well as the interests of our economy. We hope every player in these negotiations will take that into account," Baleni told the BBC.
Workers at the Lonmin mine have been on an illegal strike for four weeks, demanding a salary of R12,500.
Last month, the protest turned violent and police shot dead 34 protesters and injured 78. A total of 45 people have been killed in incidents related to the strike.
Baleni said he was worried about job losses in the platinum sector and said 4,800 jobs had already been lost due to illegal strikes.
He was also worried about violence and intimidation during these labour disputes.
Baleni said the labour unrest spreading throughout mines in the North West was being orchestrated for political reasons.
"Clearly this is a co-ordinated and orchestrated approach, and we have a firm belief that it has political undertones. Certain people are using mineworkers to advance their political goals," Baleni said.