Union rivalry evident in Marikana

Marikana miners showed strong support for upstart union Amcu at the Wonderkop Stadium.

Miners gather at the Wonderkop Stadium, waiting to hear news of the wage agreement reached on 18 September 2012. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

MARIKANA - Union rivalry is still evident in Marikana on Wednesday with a strong support base for upstart union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

This was evident at a final mass meeting held by miners in the North West town.

On Tuesday, Lonmin bosses and workers agreed to salary increases of between 11 and 22 percent, meaning salaries will rise to between R9,000 and R11,000 per month.

The Marikana miners initially demanded a basic salary of R12,500.

For the first time since the beginning of the illegal strike, hundreds of miners wore Amcu t-shirts as they gathered at the Wonderkop Stadium.

The members called on National Union of Mineworkers (Num) supporters to terminate their memberships and join the new union, which is set to become dominant in the mining sector.

Union leaders called for an end to the violence, saying everyone must report for work on Thursday and accept the new offer.

The mineworkers are still determined to fight for a R12,500 salary over the next two years.

Meanwhile, Num said it will now have to deal with the consequences of the agreement struck with Lonmin employees and warned of its implications.

Num Secretary General Frans Baleni said, "This deal demonstrates that anarchy will be rewarded."

"Normal bargaining processes have been compromised. People will now think they can do wrong things with impunity."

Some 34 striking workers were killed in a clash with police on August 16, while 11 others died during the six-week long violent attacks at the Marikana mine.