Lonmin has confirmed that it has asked 3,000 illegally striking employees to return to work on Monday (August 20th), or face possible dismissal. An initial deadline of last Friday was extended by the Company in the light of the tragic events of last Thursday. The legal ultimatum applies only to illegally striking rock drill operators and assistant rock drill operators who began an unprotected action on August 10th.
Meanwhile, the Company is communicating with the rest of its local workforce, numbering 25,000, plus a further 10,000 contractors, who have not been on strike but have been unable to work because of violence, that police consider it safe for them to report for duty again. Initially mining division employees will only be asked to report for the morning shift. Staff have also been issued with contact numbers to report any further incidents of intimidation.
Simon Scott, Chief Financial Officer, said: "The safety and security of our employees is paramount and nobody will be asked to report for duty if the police consider them in danger of reprisals. Given the tragedy which unfolded last week we immediately extended this deadline, but the vast majority of our workforce, and their families, who rely on our mine for their livelihood, have now been unable to work for more than a week."
Mr Scott added: "As the government has made clear, it is in the interests of our workers and the country, as well as the Company, that the mines are operational. We all have a long way to go to rebuild trust and try to come to terms with what has happened, but those who rely on us and want to work deserve the chance to do so."
Meanwhile Lonmin has given details of how it is supporting communities on the ground at the Marikana site.
Counselling services are running at a number of sites, including the local hospital. Employees and local people have been given a series of helpline numbers to call for information on the support services available, which include issues around identification of and funeral services for those who lost their lives, medical support, and counselling for all those affected.
The Company would like to reiterate its deep condolences to the family and friends of all those who lost their lives or were injured in the events of the last week, and to restate its commitment to doing everything it can to support them and the wider workforce in what has been a tragic and difficult period for everyone at Lonmin.