Striking Lonmin workers pull out of talks

Protesters await instruction from their leaders, at Lonmin's Marikana mine. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

MARIKANA - Striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine on Monday pulled out of peace talks, saying they were only willing to go back if their wage demands were discussed.

At least 34 miners died when police opened fire on protesting workers at the mine’s North West operation on August 16.

Another 10 people, including police officers and security guards, were also killed in the violence.

Mineworkers said they were disappointed that Lonmin management had not indicated whether or not they would approve their salary request.

Earlier in August, around 3,000 rock drill operators downed tools and refused to return to work until they received R12,500 in wages.

Earlier on Monday, officials from the Labour Department and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) updated workers about their discussions with mine management.

Talks took place behind closed doors at the Rustenburg Civic Centre.

Officials urged the workers to sign a peace accord.

One miner, Zolisa Bodlani, said that was not an option.

He said workers were willing to remain on strike for as long as it takes.

South African Council of Churches president Bishop Jo Seoka, who has been mediating the talks, said the miners were frustrated.

Talks are expected to continue until Thursday.

(Edited by Zethu Zulu)