Lonmin workers vow to fight on

Striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine refuse to return to work until their wages are increased.

Striking Lonmin workers await news from the leaders, as police keep a close watch nearby. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

MARIKANA - Striking workers at Lonmin's Marikana mine in the North West on Wednesday said they were not backing down from their wage demands.

Hundreds gathered at the mine on Wednesday afternoon as leaders were locked in talks with mining bosses.

At least 44 people were killed and 78 others wounded in violent clashes.

Many of the workers were singing and dancing in an open field, determined to make a point: no salary increase, no work.

According to mineworker Thebe Seshanke, their original demand still stands and said workers will not return to work until their salary is upped to R12,500, from R4,500.

Mineworkers said they are now waiting on their leaders.

Meanwhile Lonmin bosses, union leaders, government officials and some of the miners were meeting behind closed doors at the Rustenburg Civic Centre to try and reach an agreement.

Lonmin said it was only willing to discuss wage demands once peace and stability was restored to the area.

On Wednesday, around 7.7 percent of the Lonmin workforce reported for duty.

Mineworkers said they were willing to wait for as long as it took for Lonmin bosses to agree to their demands.

They say they cannot lower their demand because doing so would be disrespectful to the 34 miners who lost their lives.

Negotiations could take days to complete.