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Platinum strike: Lonmin fires 235 workers

Essential services workers at Lonmin Platinum are the first to be sacked since the strike began.

Essential services workers at Lonmin Platinum are the first to be sacked since the strike began. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

MARIKANA - Four months into the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) wage strike, 235 essential services workers at Lonmin Platinum have become the first to be sacked, after failing to report for duty.

Lonmin yesterday confirmed it sacked the employees because they were not on strike then failed to show up for work since Amcu's work stoppage started.

The company said reports of intimidation and violence only surfaced recently and the workers could therefore not explain their absence.

The platinum company said it secured an interdict forcing the essential services staff to return to work by last Monday, but this never happened.

The staff are responsible for ensuring the mine's underground and surface infrastructure is not damaged while a bulk of its employees remain on strike.

This morning many of these workers have been transported to Lonmin shafts under heavy police guards due to a fear that they may be targeted for coming to work.

Since the strike started there have been reports of several attacks on unionised and non-unionised workers.

At Impala Platinum cars belonging to three essential services staff were also torched last week.

The workers have two weeks to appeal their dismissal.

Meanwhile, aid group Gift of the Givers said it will deliver additional food parcels to at least 600 families at the Khuseleka Mine in Jabula in Rustenburg today.

The organisation said it will also provide hot meals to another 5,000 people who've been affected by the strike.

The group's director Imtiaz Sooliman said, "If anybody can give us food, preferably food they can cook themselves, that's welcome. They have no furniture or blankets, they have nothing because they sold their belongings. Cash contribution is also welcome and we can buy the items at a discounted price."

All pictures in this story are courtesy of EWN.

Video: Marikana soup kitchen feeds starving miners.