MARIKANA, South Africa – Miners must return to work Monday or face being fired from the platinum mine where rivalry between unions exploded into violence that led to the deaths of 44 people in a week, Lonmin PLC said Sunday. Thirty-four strikers were gunned down by police in one of the worst displays of state violence since apartheid ended in 1994.
President Jacob Zuma declared a week of national mourning starting Monday to commemorate the lives of all South Africans who have died violently, especially the 44 at Marikana mine.
“The nation is in shock and pain,” Zuma said in a statement. “We must this week reflect on the sanctity of human life … We must avoid finger-pointing and recrimination. We must unite against violence from whatever quarter.”
Some 3,000 rock-drill operators called RDOs have been leading an illegal strike among the mine’s 25,000-strong labor force plus 10,000 contractors. Intimidation and threats of violence kept many more away.
“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,” CFO Simon Scott said in a statement.
Lonmin had initially ordered miners to return to work by Friday, then, after the shootings, changed the deadline to Monday, spokeswoman Sue Vey said.
“The final ultimatum provides RDOs with a last opportunity to return to work or face possible dismissal,” the company said in a statement Sunday. “Employees could therefore be dismissed if they fail to heed the final ultimatum.”
Strikers said they were not sure what to do. The company has not responded to their demands for the minimum wage to be increased from R5,500 ($688) to R12,500 ($1,560).
Last year after a similar dispute over labor representation stopped work at its nearby Karee mine, Lonmin fired all 9,000 workers. Then it asked
Category: Africa News