Lonmin should issue ultimatum to protesting workers - Solidarity

Union says they, and a dubious trade union, are putting wellbeing of 28,000 other employees at risk

Lonmin violence: Anarchy in the workplace must be brought to an end - Solidarity

Trade union Solidarity today called on Lonmin's management to issue a final ultimatum of dismissal to the estimated 2 000 protesting workers. It is unacceptable that approximately 2 000 employees and a dubious trade union are putting the safety and job security of the close to 28 000 other employees at risk.

Gideon du Plessis, General Secretary of Solidarity, said this form of anarchy in the workplace causes severe damage to South Africa's international reputation as an investment destination and sets a dangerous precedent for dispute resolution at Lonmin and other mining groups in a time where the mining industry and the platinum industry, in particular, are under immense pressure.

"This illegal action is not a labour dispute, but merely criminal behaviour aimed at destabilising a workplace and a well-functioning labour relations system. Lonmin should issue a final ultimatum to the protesting workers today and demand that they lay down their arms voluntarily and return to the workplace immediately. If the workers don't heed the ultimatum within 24 hours, they must be summarily dismissed and, regardless of the workers' reaction, criminal charges should be laid against those responsible for the barbaric murders, damage to property and intimidation."

Du Plessis said Solidarity is aware that such a step could place a heavy operational, logistical and financial burden on Lonmin. "If the situation is not dealt with correctly, however, the employer could end up at the same crossroads in the future. Solidarity is aware of and has appreciation for the efforts of all interested parties to reach a settlement, but doubts whether a settlement can be achieved as long as the anarchy continues. We appeal to our members to do everything in their power to save costs and to step up productivity at a time where the employer is suffering immense losses as a result of the unrest."

Solidarity moreover proposed that the Minister of Labour launch an investigation into the alleged incitement to the illegal protest action and the criminal activities at Lonmin instead of an investigation into the estimated 16 trade unions that do not meet the legal requirements for registration. "We also once again send our sincere condolences to all the victims' next of kin and loved ones and undertake to give Lonmin our undivided support in squelching the anarchy in the workplace," said Du Plessis.

Statement issued by Gideon du Plessis, General Secretary: Solidarity, August 16 2012

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