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Key players refuse to sign deal to end S.Africa mine strike

Key players are refusing to sign a deal to end a deadly wildcat strike at a South African platinum mine, a worker representative and mediator said on Thursday.

Management of the Lonmin mine inked an agreement late on Wednesday with the main unions to end the illegal strike that started in August and that has left 44 people dead.

But non-unionised workers and a key union, whose agreement is essential to ending the action, have refused to sign up to the deal.

“We cannot agree to sign that thing. It shows once you sign the workers must resume work. But we know the workers won’t return,” said non-unionised workers’ representative Zolisa Bodlani of a peace accord on the strike at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine.

Mediator Bishop Jo Seoka said a key union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) also refused to go along.

“AMCU, the union that is new in that sector, was not willing to sign the peace accord,” Seoka told AFP.

“Ultimately late at (Wednesday) night it was signed by the the government and other unions. That is the Labour Department, NUM (National Union of Mineworkers), and Solidarity and UASA,” said Seoka.

The accord is intended to end an illegal strike at London-listed Lonmin mine which started on August 10 and has left 44 people dead, 34 of whom were gunned down by police.

Workers are insisting the world’s number three platinum producer pay them 12,500 rands ($1,479, 1,182 euros) a month, nearly triple what they claim to earn currently.

“When the management and those stakeholders are willing to discuss 12,500 (rands) we can go back to work,” Bodlani told AFP.

Lonmin has said it would only discuss wages when a peace agreement was signed.

Labour mediators would start wage negotiations as agreed to in the accord, said Seoka.