Lonmin rejects pay demands as talks resume

 
City A.M. Reporter
LONMIN, due to resume talks this morning with strikers at its Marikana platinum mine in South Africa who rejected a pay rise offer last week, insisted yesterday it could not meet the workers' demands but promised a new approach in labour relations.

Acting chief executive Simon Scott said the deaths at the mine of protesters, 34 of whom were shot dead by police on 16 August, had been a 'wake-up call" for the company and it was committed to ending the fiveweek labour unrest in which a total of 45 people have been killed.

In an opinion piece published in the Sunday Times, Scott said Lonmin would improve discussions with strikers although it could not afford to meet their higher wage demands.

"For Lonmin, the starting point is to acknowledge that our company must go through a process of self-reflection," Scott said.

"What I can promise is that we are committed to playing our part. We have had our wake-up call, as has the rest of South Africa."

"Clearly, one of the issues we need to reflect on is how we find balance between protecting the business, and the jobs dependent upon it, on the one hand and how we respond with sensitivity to the complex situations that Lonmin is at the centre of," Scott said.

Last Friday workers at the mine dismissed the company's offer as way below the 12,500 rand (£925) a month sought by members of the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which is challenging the influence of the more established National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Meanwhile Anglo American Platinum said yesterday night it plans to resume operations at its Rustenburg mine in South Africa tomorrow after it suspended work following labor unrest.

Amplats, a unit of global mining giant Anglo American, had said last Thursday a number of its employees had joined protesters near its Rustenburg operations who have threatened to bring the country's mining sector to a standstill.