OHANNESBURG – Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa has accused management at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Lonmin mine of instigating another Marikana by offering workers paltry wage increases as salary negotiations continued in the platinum sector.
Mathunjwa said that the company had offered workers as little as R300 increases, a move he said was meant to provoke workers to strike just like in 2012.
Seven years ago, 34 mineworkers were killed by the police after a lengthy strike calling for a minimum wage of R12,500.
When dealing with Lonmin or its new owners, Sibanye-Stillwater, Mathunjwa did not mince his words.
The agitation was written all over his face as he compared the mine’s conduct during this year’s wage negotiations to how things turned sour to the point of death in 2012.
“The strategy is simple – it’s part two of what they did in 2012, so they want to show that they are in control.”
Mathunjwa was also convinced that the mine and government were hell-bent on realising Amcu’s demise for taking on mining bosses years ago.
“It has been difficult after the massacre. There was a five-month strike. In that strike, we were faced with different formations that were created by the state – new unions sponsored by government in order to destroy Amcu, character assassinations… there were so many challenges.”
He said that the union had faced attacks since taking on the wage structures in the country’s platinum and gold mines where it enjoyed a large representation.