North-West optimistic about strike talks

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Supra Mahumapelo1 Independent Newspapers. Supra Mahumapelo. Picture: Itumeleng English.

Rustenburg - Talks facilitated by the labour court will help resolve the wage dispute in the platinum mining sector, newly elected North West premier Supra Mahumapelo said on Thursday.

“The resolve by Amcu and the platinum producers to subject their dispute to mediation is encouraging,” he said.

“Ending the strike will be the first step to avert possible job losses and restoring peace and stability, and bring to an end the vicious cycle of violence that has resulted in the brutal killings of non-striking workers, and destruction of private and public property.”

The provincial government would engage mining houses on possible interventions to help those people affected by the protracted strike, he said.

Strikers had mixed feelings about the labour court-led talks.

“I do not see these talks breaking the strike. The only thing to end this strike is the R12,500,” said mineworker Mvelase Gugi.

Lonmin workers have since 2012 demanded a basic salary of R12,500.

“We have travelled a long way to give up. Companies have two years to adjust our pay but failed.”

In response, workers had withheld their labour.

He was speaking at the infamous hill in Marikana, near Rustenburg, where police shot dead 34 Lonmin mineworkers on August 16, 2012, apparently while trying to disperse and disarm them.

Ten other people, including two policeman and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

“I am here to reconnect with the spirit of slain workers and commit not to betray them. They died demanding R12,500,” Gugi said.

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry is probing the 44 deaths.

Erick Malupe said talks gave the union and mining companies a platform to negotiate a settlement.

“They have been too apart and I think with the labour court intervening a settlement will be reached. They have to meet each other half way.”

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum went on strike on January 23 demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

They rejected the companies' offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12,500 by July 2017.

Amcu and platinum mining companies are meeting behind closed doors at an undisclosed location in Johannesburg. - Sapa



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