Pretoria: Parties involved in the Marikana talks today signed a peace accord to pave the way for wage negotiations. The accord was signed just after 1am, said Lonmin mine spokesperson Sue Vey.
“This is the first step in the right direction. We hope the workers will also sign soon,” she said.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has welcomed the peace accord, saying it signalled the “good intentions of the participants” to find a lasting solution to the problems in Marikana”.
“It further shows the commitment of parties to ending the three-week long stand-off. The NUM appreciates the commitment and efforts of the religious community, trade unions Solidarity and UASA, Lonmin and government in working hard to reach the accord, which in itself paves the way to re-opening wage negotiations,” said Lesiba Seshoka, the NUM national spokesperson.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and Marikana workers’ representatives did not, however, sign the accord, which also includes a commitment to create a peaceful work environment.
“The NUM further appeals to AMCU to come on board and be a signatory of the peace accord. Not being part of the accord sends a wrong message to the workforce, a message of divisions and lack of common purpose. All parties must agree to organise in peace and harmony devoid of threats, intimidation and violence,” said Seshoka.
NUM chairperson of Health and Safety, Peter Bailey, said the accord allowed for negotiations to start a day after the signing.
“The talks that led to the signing took a lot of effort and patience. It was a long road to travel.
“The CCMA will from here on facilitate the talks. The negotiators are required to reach a settlement within 30 days.”
Striking workers had formed their own committee to represent them at the negotiations. Worker representative Zolisa Bodlwana said a feedback meeting will be held with miners in Wonderkop.
It is not yet known when Amcu will sign the agreement.
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant had previously met with union representatives in a bid to defuse the tensions at mines in Marikana.
She also met with platinum and gold producers, the National Union of Mine Workers and the Chamber of Mines in an effort to find solutions to the instability.