Picture: Timothy Bernard.

Rustenburg - The Congress of SA Trade Unions on Wednesday condemned the dismissal of striking essential services workers at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West.

“The mine bosses care about profit and do not care about the safety of workers who are not able to go to work,” Cosatu's North West secretary Solly Phetoe said.

Lonmin said on Monday it fired the 235 workers who had not reported for duty since the strike, led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), started on January 23.

Phetoe said only workers who did not belong to a union were fired.

The company said on Monday that under the recognition agreement signed with Amcu, essential services workers were not expected to participate in strikes.

Spokesman Happy Nkhoma said the company obtained a court order on February 27 requiring all essential workers to return to work by May 12.

“They have been dismissed with effect from May 13.”

Phetoe said workers were fired for something that was beyond their control.

“We call on the management of Lonmin to reinstate those workers or we will take the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) on behalf of those workers who are not organised in any union.”

Amcu members at Impala Platinum, Lonmin, and Anglo American Platinum went on strike demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500. They rejected the companies' wage offer which would bring their cash remuneration to R12,500 a month by July 2017.

The remuneration includes a living out and holiday leave allowances, but excludes medical and retirement benefits, and any bonuses.

Mediation talks to end the strike are underway at the labour court.

The SA Students Congress (Sasco) called on workers to disown Amcu.

“Only those who wish to use workers will lead them to the verge of losing their employment and to (be) careless about their families and future,” Sasco president Ntuthuko Makhombothi said.

He called on mineworkers to disown unions such as Amcu and rid themselves of a “business unionist like Joseph Mathunjwa”.

“We urge our parents to refuse leadership that instigates them to kill one another, because killing each other does not weaken our primary enemy, which is the bourgeoisie.” - Sapa