19% of Lonmin miners return to work

Lonmin confirmed that only 19% of 3000 striking miners were back at work on Tuesday.

Protesters from Lonmin's Marikana Mine carried traditional weapons as they demonstrated, demanding better wages. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Lonmin managers on Tuesday confirmed that just over 19 percent of 3000 workers that were on an illegal strike reported for duty.

The platinum producing company extended its ultimatum by calling on all striking workers to report for duty by 7am on Tuesday.

Mining bosses warned they would take action if employees failed to get back to work, but would not necessarily fire them.

One in five striking miners reported for duty, and just over a third of the total workforce has returned.

The figure is slightly higher than Monday, but not enough to ensure that operations continues at an optimum level.

Meanwhile, just over 1000 rock drill operators gathered behind a township in Marikana, saying they were still deciding on a way forward.

They apparently sent five of their leaders to meet with the SA Council of Churches and Lonmin management.

Until that meeting is concluded, they were reluctant to speculate about what their next move will be.

About 3000 rock drill operators downed tools two weeks ago to demand higher salaries.

They want their wages upped from R4000 to R12,500 a month.

The strike was declared illegal and violence ensued, claiming the lives of a total of 44 people.

In the most tragic incident, police opened fire at protesting workers, killing 34 people.

At least 10 others were killed during the first week of the demonstrations, including two police officers.