20 January 2018
   
Tsvangirai golden handshake confirmed
DisGrace sneaks out three luxury cars
ED cuts Bob Singapore crew from 38 to 22
Call for Diaspora Minister and MPs
ED so over confident it worries him
Priscilla demands coup ‘killings’ details
CBD maize roasting must end now: Min
Tsvangirai faces disgraceful exit: Judge
MORE NEWS
ZTA targets domestic tourism
SOE DEBATE: Privatise most parastatals
MORE BUSINESS
Delight as ZBC 'Iron Lady' suspended
Sulu arrested over $4,000 child support
MORE SHOWBIZ
Mapeza targets CAF CL group stages
Tendai Ndoro special - says Ajax coach
MORE SPORTS
Elections: Not a moment to be lost
A view beyond the Zimbabwe coup
MORE OPINION
 
Mnangagwa off to Davos empty handed
Economy: the need for a paradigm shift
MORE COLUMNISTS
 
 
Magara surprised by SA strike length
02/05/2014 00:00:00
by Iol.co.za
 
 
RELATED STORIES
Magara makes Forbes powerful men list
Magara swings Lonmin back to profit

LONMIN Plc’s chief executive officer is surprised by the length of South Africa’s platinum strike and by the unwillingness of the old acquaintance leading the walkout, Joseph Mathunjwa, to accept “economic realities”.

“I thought I knew him very well and I thought this would not go this far,” Ben Magara, 46, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa.

“We know each other but I think I am dumbfounded about why the economic realities are not dawning” on Mathunjwa and members of his union.

Magara’s Lonmin, with fellow miners Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Impala Platinum Holdings Plc, have been at loggerheads with Mathunjwa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union since January 23 when the labour group went on strike over pay.

AMCU has rejected the companies’ latest offer of R12 500 rand a month by 2017, including benefits, instead demanding that amount in base pay within four years. That’s double entry-level workers’ current salaries.

“We are close enough to realize that Lonmin belongs to both me and him, his members and my employees and my investors,” said Magara, who has known Mathunjwa since 1999 when he was working at Anglo American Plc’s coal division and the union leader began his labour group at BHP Billiton Plc.

The pair put on a show of unity in August, shaking hands when Lonmin announced that the AMCU had become the majority labour group at the company.

Marikana killings

Magara, from Zimbabwe, became Lonmin CEO in July 2013, 11 months after 34 protesters were killed by police in a single day near the company’s Marikana operations.

Mathunjwa’s AMCU has surged in membership since those events and is now the dominant union in South Africa’s platinum industry.

“The only solution in this thing is for companies to come to the table and talk about how we can reach 12,500 in four years,” Mathunjwa said today in a phone interview. “There is no other way.”

The strike, the longest mining labour stoppage in South Africa’s history, has cost companies almost R16 billion in lost revenue and workers R7.1 billion in income, according to the producers.

“We are doing everything to safeguard the business,” Magara said. “Cash burn, reduce it, everything else not critical, reduce it.”

Lonmin has declined 11 percent to 286.7 pence since the strike began Jan. 23 in London trading. Platinum is down 2.3 percent to $1,424.5 an ounce in the period.



Advertisement


 
Email this to a friend Printable Version Discuss This Story
Share this article:

Digg it

Del.icio.us

Reddit

Newsvine

Nowpublic

Stumbleupon

Face Book

Myspace

Fark

 
 
 
comments powered by Disqus
 
RSS NewsTicker