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‘Impala deal set precedent for Lonmin miners’

The Marikana Inquiry heard how other mining companies set a precedent for Lonmin workers.

Ian Farlam listens to comments made on day one of the Farlam Commission into the Marikana shooting. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

RUSTENBURG - The Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday heard how other mining companies set a precedent for Lonmin workers to negotiate salary increases outside of a bargaining agreement.

National Union of Mineworkers (Num) chief negotiator Eric Gcilitshana said salary increases at the Impala Platinum resulted in raised expectations from Lonmin workers.

He said this set a precedent for the miners.

"This achievement at Impala might have raised expectations from the workers at Lonmin, that they would also go that route."

Gcilitshana is Num's first witness at the inquiry.

It was hoped he would be able to give more insight into why miners distanced themselves from unions and embarked on an illegal strike.

The commission is trying to uncover the truth about what happened on the day 34 miners were gunned down by police at the North West mine back in August 2012.

The hearing was established by President Jacob Zuma shortly after the deadly shooting.

The commission began its work on October 1.

It was given four months to complete its work, but it does seem likely that it might miss that deadline and run over its stipulated time frame.