Lonmin bosses urged to respect week of mourning
LONMIN’s mines are at a standstill and the company has no idea when production will restart.
There is very little of the common ground needed to resolve the impasse between workers and management at Lonmin’s Marikana mine where 34 striking miners were killed last week.
The company issued an ultimatum to the workers to report for duty yesterday. However, the deadline was extended for another day after talks with trade unions.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said yesterday the ultimatum would not be effected this week.
"The president (Jacob Zuma) has declared this week as a mourning week. We want all, including mine bosses, to respect this," he told a media briefing in Rustenburg.
Only 17% of the mine’s rock drill operators, who had sparked the strike, returned to work yesterday. Lonmin would not be drawn on whether it would fire workers not reporting for duty this morning.
"I don’t think this goes about how many people we should dismiss, or could dismiss, or want to dismiss," Mark Munroe, Lonmin’s executive vice-president in charge of mining, said yesterday.
"Our focus should be on restoring normality to Lonmin, the communities around us and restoring some form of normality in the platinum mining industry. Lonmin still does have the right to dismiss."
The hill on which thousands of strikers have gathered falls outside the mine’s area of responsibility.
A committee of Cabinet ministers, meant to visit workers and communities, failed to do so yesterday, saying the situation was "volatile". Some visited the mortuary, helping relatives who were identifying bodies. Others met Lonmin’s management.
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, who is heading the committee, did not rule out a future site visit. "It’s very serious, it’s not child’s play. We don’t want to rush in." The state did not want to interfere in a "labour issue".
Opposition party leaders who visited the area yesterday were well received by strikers and the public.
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