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Talks start after deadly South Africa mine strike

Published on 29/08/2012

Managers, unions and workers at the Lonmin Marikana platinum mine started talks with South African government mediators Wednesday as thousands of miners continued a strike that has left 44 dead.

Around 50 people from various delegations filled the town hall in Rustenburg, near the North West province mine, for the first all-encompassing talks on the strike.

The parties are describing the meeting as a bid to reach a “peace accord” to stop the unrest and pave the way for negotiations to end the strike that started on August 10.

“I’m very optimistic because this is the first time that all the parties are meeting. We are positive,” said mediator Bishop Jo Seoka from the South African Council of Churches before entering the venue.

Two weeks ago 44 people were killed at the mine, 34 of them gunned down by police.

Workers, who claim they earn 4,000 rand a month, are demanding a raise to 12,500 rand (1,190 euros, $1,490). Lonmin, the world’s number three platinum producer, says the workers already earn around 10,000 rand when bonuses and other compensation are included.

The labour ministry is facilitating the talks between London-listed Lonmin’s managers and unions including the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and smaller rival the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

Representatives of miners who say they don’t belong to any union are also attending.