South Africa tells Lonmin to drop threat to sack striking minersRupert Neate, guardian.co.ukGuardian
Lonmin has been ordered to drop its threat to sack striking miners who failed to return to work after South African police shot dead 34 of their colleagues.
The London-listed miner had told 3,000 miners striking over low pay that they would lose their jobs if they failed to turn up for work on Tuesday morning. But the world's third-largest platinum miner was on Monday night ordered by the South African government to lift its ultimatum.
"The President [Jacob Zuma] has declared this week as a mourning week. We want all, including mine bosses, to respect this," Police Minister Nathi Mthethwahe told reporters in Rustenburg late on Monday night, according to the South African Mail & Guardian.
On Tuesday, Mark Munroe, Lonmin's executive vice president, said sacking thousands of workers would not improve the tense situation at the Marikana mine near Johannesburg.
"It won't help if Lonmin goes out and dismisses a whole lot of people for not coming to work today," he told South Africa's TalkRadio 702 FM this morning. "It will set us back significantly in terms of violence, in terms of building trust."
Some families are still don't not know whether their loved ones are dead or alive among about 250 arrested protesters or 78 people being treated in hospital.
The South African parliament will on Tuesday debate the killings, which have sparked an national outcry and are the worst single example of police violence since the end of apartheid.
Some of the miners had said they would rather die than return to work. Kaizer Madiba told the South African Times newspaper: "People have died already so we have nothing more to lose We are going to continue fighting for what we believe is a legitimate fight for living wages. We would rather die like our comrades than back down."
The 3,000 striking rock drillers are demanding their wages be trebled from 4,000 rand (306) a month to 12,500 rand a month. In comparison, Lonmin's chief executive Ian Farmer, who is currently seriously ill in hospital, collected pay and bonuses of 1.2m last year.
Lonmin's shares, which have fallen sharply in response to the crisis, were up 2.5% to 625p on Tuesday morning.
The Mail & Guardian are live-blogging the fallout from the shooting here.