Lonmin gives striking workers wage offer deadline

2nd May 2014, Comments 0 comments

The world's third-largest platinum producer Lonmin has given its striking South African mineworkers until May 8 to accept its latest wage offer, a company spokeswoman said on Friday.

Lonmin employees are part of over 80,000 mineworkers who downed tools on January 23 in what has turned into one of the longest strikes in South Africa's recent history.

The workers affiliated to the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union are demanding a basic salary of 12,500 rand (860 euros, $1,200). Entry-level mine workers currently earn around 5,000 rand basic pay a month.

The prolonged strike has so far cost the workers around 6.4-billion rand in lost income and producers some 14.5 billion rand in revenue.

"Employees are being asked to indicate their acceptance of the settlement offer... by end of business of May 8," said Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey.

"We took the settlement offer directly to our employees on 30 April 2014."

Last month, Lonmim and two other platinum producers -- Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum affected by the strike -- offered workers a total pay package of 12,500 rand a month by July 2017.

The offer will increase their total pay and benefits by 7.5 to 10 percent annually over the next three years.

Vey said the company has set May 14 as a provisional deadline for workers to return to work, should they receive "sufficient numbers of positive responses."

On May Day, President Jacob Zuma criticised the frequent stoppages in the country's mining sector, urging workers to return to work.

The key industry has been hit by intermitted strikes over wages since 2011, in a country that holds around 80 percent of the world's known platinum reserves.

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© 2014 AFP

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