Amcu miners gather at Wonderkop stadium
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Johannesburg - Around 5000 striking mineworkers gathered at Wonderkop Stadium in Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West, on Wednesday, refusing to return to work.
Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) sang resistance songs and carried knobkerries and umbrellas.
Many had blankets around them.
They appeared to be defying a call by employers to return to work.
Lonmin warned that it might implement restructuring that could lead to a loss of jobs if striking mineworkers failed to return to work on Wednesday.
The company set May 14 as the deadline for employees to end the almost four-month-old strike.
“The only thing that could take us underground is R12,500”, said union member Tievo Nkomo.
He said accepting the current offer would mean they were on strike for four months only to receive R500.
“This is not what we strike for. The only thing we need is R12,500. I find it difficult that the employers could not understand our demand, which is clear,” said Nkomo.
The companies -- Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum --offered Amcu a settlement on April 17.
They tabled a wage increase offer of between 7.5 percent and 10 percent.
The proposed offer would have seen the minimum cash remuneration for entry-level underground workers rise to R12,500 a month, or R150,000 a year, by July 2017.
On Wednesday, union members were bussed into the stadium and were waiting for Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa to address them later in the day.
Security was tight around the mining area.
Five police vans were stationed around the stadium and a Nyala armoured vehicle belonging to mine security was seen.
Another group of workers had gathered in Marikana West waiting for buses to transport them to the stadium.
The strike has cost the companies about R14 billion in revenue and workers have lost over R6bn in earnings.
During a similar strike in August 2012, 44 people died.
Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the week before 34 people were shot dead in a clash with police on August 16.
A commission of inquiry into the 44 deaths has been hearing evidence on events and policing at the time of August 2012 shooting. - Sapa