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Lonmin miners to consider wage offer

Striking Lonmin miners will on Friday consider an offer of a wage increase made on Thursday.

Striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine continue to demand R12,500 in wages. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN/MARIKANA - Striking Lonmin miners will consider an official wage increase offer.

The offer was made on Thursday evening, after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), Lonmin management, strike leaders and unions met for several hours.

It is the first salary hike proposal that has been made since almost 3,000 rock drillers downed tools five weeks ago.

The proposed figure has not been disclosed, as it must first be presented to striking workers and an agreement be signed.

They are expected to have a decision by this afternoon, when the negotiation committee meets.

Earlier this week miners said they would return to work immediately should management offer them a monthly salary of R12,500.

But if the proposed official figure is anything less, only a majority vote by miners will see the deal being accepted.

It is hoped the suggested salary increase will end the strike which has crippled operations at the platinum mine and claimed 45 lives, including 34 workers who were gunned down by police on 16 August.

ZUMA CRITICISES LONMIN MANAGEMENT

President Jacob Zuma on Thursday criticised Lonmin for its slow progress in delivering proper housing to miners.

He told the National Assembly he had been talking to ministers on ways to deal with growing unrest in the mining sector.

Thousands of miners from Lonmin, Gold Fields and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) have vowed not to return to work until they are offered a basic salary of at least R12,500.

Zuma also called for patience over the judicial inquiry set up to investigate the Marikana shooting.

He said the tragedy had highlighted the need for transformation in the mining sector, which creates 500,000 direct jobs.

The president also said government would soon take action against people going to the country’s mines to influence miners. This was seen as a veiled reference to Julius Malema, who has visited several mines in recent weeks. On a number occasions he told the aggrieved miners Zuma and his government did not care about them.

Congress of the People MP Papi Kganare called for Malema to be dealt with and labelled him “an uncontrollable Polokwane political Frankenstein” created by Zuma. 

The expelled ANC Youth League president has been encouraging miners to not return to work until management consents to their wage demands.

He has called on workers to make mines ungovernable, while at the same time campaigning for the nationalisation of mines.

(Edited by Thato Motaung)

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