Lonmin wage talks resume

Wage negotiations between Lonmin stakeholders and striking Marikana miners continues on Monday.

Striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine continue to demand R12,500 in wages on 14 September 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News.

MARIKANA - Wage negotiations between Lonmin management, unions and striking miners from its Marikana operation will continue on Monday.

The workers rejected an increase offer on Friday, forcing both parties to return to talks in an attempt to end the almost six-week long illegal strike.

On Saturday, police fired rubber bullets at weapon-wielding protesters who were gathered illegally.

The disorder came after cabinet ministers announced on Friday that government would no longer tolerate violence by striking miners.

Members from the South African Defence Force were at the weekend deployed to the mining district.

Striking miners said they were offered a R986 increase, which means an entry-level worker will earn a monthly salary of R5,500.

The North West workers rejected the offer, saying it was part of an existing agreement to be put into effect in October.

Lonmin said entry level workers would get a 16 percent hike - while rock drill operators - the majority of those who have downed tools, would get a 21 percent increase.

That would see their total guaranteed package increase by over R1,800 a month.

Mining bosses insist the R12,500 wage demand is unaffordable and would result in a trade-off between wages and jobs.

Miners are expected to stay away from work again today, as negotiations continue.

Their strike has been dogged by violence which has left 45 people dead.

Meanwhile, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) urged miners to report for work while wage negotiations were underway.

SACC president Bishop Joe Seoka on Sunday said a solution beneficial to all is likely to be found, now that all stakeholders and representatives are involved in talks.