Platinum companies have fanned mine violence - ANC
In an emailed statement, South Africa's ruling party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party blamed platinum miners for fanning worker divisions
Posted: Friday , 07 Sep 2012
South Africa's ruling African National Congress and its union allies blamed platinum mining companies and outside labor groups for fanning worker divisions that sparked a violent strike at Lonmin Plc's Marikana mine.
"The fact that the platinum industry has refused to be part of centralized bargaining either as the platinum industry or the mining industry broadly tells the story of the power and belief in divide and rule," the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party said in an e-mailed statement today.
An illegal wage strike that has stopped production at Marikana, the third-biggest platinum company's main mine, spiralled into violence between workers, security guards and the police. Thirty-four protestors were shot dead by police on Aug. 16 in the deadliest mine related violence since the end of apartheid in South Africa.
The Chamber of Mines negotiates wage increases on behalf of most gold and coal companies in what is called a centralized bargaining process where all workers of particular job grades in the industry usually get the same raise. The National Union of Mineworkers, a Cosatu affiliate, refused to take Lonmin employees' wage demands to the company, prompting the illegal stay away, according to workers.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, an NUM rival, has said Lonmin must address workers' grievances, before the strike is ended.
"The invasion of the space by outside forces may mark the beginning of a serious program of destabilization," the ruling alliance said, without identifying who they were referring to. "Agitating workers and giving them false promises is dangerous and may take long time to correct."
Lonmin has missed out on production of 50,000 ounces of platinum since the Aug. 10 beginning of the strike, BMO Capital Markets Ltd. analyst Edward Sterck said in a note today. A six- week strike at nearby operations run by Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. resulted in a production loss of 120,000 ounces in January.
The Impala strike contributed to growth slowing in Africa's biggest economy to 2.7 percent in the first quarter from 3.2 percent in the previous three-month period.
--Editors: Karl Maier, Andrew Atkinson