18 October 2012

South Africa: Stoppage At Lonmin's Marikana Mine

Johannesburg — Some operations were disrupted at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, on Thursday because some workers stayed away, the company said.

"We are experiencing some disruption at various shafts. Some people have not been underground this morning [Thursday] as they were expected to be," said spokeswoman Sue Vey.

She said the sporadic labour disruptions were apparently in protest against the arrest of three mineworkers in connection with criminal investigations by the police.

"As management, we are working as hard as we can with all our stakeholders -- including National Union of Mineworkers [NUM], Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union [Amcu] and all the workers' representatives -- to continue rebuilding trust between employees and ourselves and ensure operational stability."

Worker spokesman Zolisa Bodlani, speaking from Welkom, said workers had raised concerns about the arrest of some of their colleagues.

"Since Friday, people have been arrested, although we have an agreement that no one will be intimidated or harassed when our strike ended in September."

He said one of the strike leaders Xolani Nzuza was working night-shift and was arrested on Wednesday when he knocked off.

"The workers are meeting today after 4pm. They want to present their problems to management. They are not on strike."

On August 10, workers went on a strike demanding a R12,500 monthly salary. The strike turned violent and 10 people including two policeman were killed between August 10 and 14.

The workers armed with pangas, knobkerries, iron rods and sticks gathered on top of a hill, refusing to drop their weapons.

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

The strike ended on September 20, when the mine offered them salary increases amounting to 22 percent.

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