JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – JSE-listed platinum producer Lonmin warned on Monday that an indefinite strike at its Marikana mine in the North West would threaten the jobs of more than 40 000 workers.
“We cannot go on indefinitely without normalising operations and still escape the consequences of the mine not being operational,” the company said, as its attendance levels fell to 4.5% across all shafts.
This comes as unions, management and worker representatives reconvened on Monday to further discuss a peace accord. The signing of the accord was expected to provide all parties with a framework within which agenda items - such as wages - can be discussed.
“It is an important first step to finding a common ground among all parties. It allows for a peaceful return to work and an environment in which the concerns of all stakeholders can be addressed,” Lonmin stated.
Newswire Reuters quoted Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant as saying that management and workers had agreed in principle to sign a two-year wage agreement. The deal was reportedly dependent on miners returning to work.
Meanwhile, the inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), which President Jacob Zuma set up following the deadly shooting at Marikana more than two weeks ago, reported that it was confident that the underlying labour issues would be resolved.
“South Africa is a constitutional democracy with appropriate labour relations laws and long-established negotiating forums in which business, organised labour and government resolve labour issues. We remain confident that the labour dispute at the Lonmin mine will be amicably resolved.”
The IMC pointed out that Oliphant, along with the South African Council of Churches, had been in regular meetings with all parties. Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu also met with the platinum producers, gold miners, the National Union of Mineworkers and the Chamber of Mines to find solutions to the instability.
Further, the IMC said that the events of the past weeks had not yet impacted on foreign investment in the country.
“We would like to reassure all stakeholders and the international community that mining operations continue unhindered in other parts of the North West province and throughout the country.”