Lonmin says sacking striking miners could lead to more violence
Police last week opened fire on strikers armed with machetes and sticks, killing 34 and raising the death toll from the weeklong dispute to 44.
“It won’t help anyone if Lonmin goes out and dismisses a whole lot of people for not coming to work today. It will set us back significantly in terms of violence, in terms of building trust,” Mark Munroe, Lonmin executive vice-president for mining, told a local radio station today morning.
London-based Lonmin yesterday extended its ultimatum for striking workers to return to duty to Today morning, but workers continued to trickle in as the deadline expired.
The company said that 30 per cent of the 28,000-strong workforce reported for work yesterday, with some shafts reporting a 60 per cent attendance.
“We are not going to go out to actively try to fire anyone, but also there are consequences for someone who is not coming to work,” Munroe added.
Lonmin, which accounts for 12 per cent of global platinum output, was forced last week to freeze mining as a result of the violence, but essential services such as ventilation were maintained so the mines could quickly restart production.
The platinum producer’s shares have tumbled almost 13 per cent in Johannesburg in the past five days, with the price of platinum climbing to a two-month high of US$1,492.99 (RM4,6,57) an ounce (28.3g) yesterday. — Reuters