S Africa – Lonmin orders miners back to work or face dismissal

Mail and Guardian

Platinum producer Lonmin has ordered employees to return to work or face dismissal but workers vow to stay on strike after 34 colleagues were killed.

The London-listed company issued a final ultimatum to workers to end their wildcat stayaway three days after the country’s worst police violence since the end of apartheid at its Marikana mine.

“The final ultimatum provides RDOs [rock drill operators] with a last opportunity to return to work or face possible dismissal,” the company said in a statement.

“Employees could therefore be dismissed if they fail to heed the final ultimatum.”

But workers at the mine in the North West province said they will press on with wage demands and slammed a return to work as “an insult” to their colleagues who were gunned down after police failed to disperse strikers on Thursday.

“Expecting us to go back is like an insult. Many of our friends and colleagues are dead, then they expect us to resume work. Never,” said worker Zachariah Mbewu, adding that no one would return to work as long as they were still in mourning.

“Some are in prison and hospitals. Tomorrow we are going back to the mountain [protest site], not underground, unless management gives us what we want.”

Day of mourning
Zuma on Sunday announced the appointment of an inter-ministerial committee to be led by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.

Included in the committee are North West Premier Thandi Modise, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Zuma also announced a period of mourning between August 20-26. August 23 has been declared a day for memorial services to be held around the country.   Read more…

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