South Africa’s Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, has lashed out at labour unions regarding strikes at Lonmin that have disrupted production.

The dispute centres around issues of majority representation involving the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association for Mining and Construction Union (AMCU).

Lonmin experienced a two-day strike between 13 May 2013 and 15 May 2013, resulting in operations being suspended at all of Marikana’s shafts.

“I would like to appeal to the leadership of both unions (NUM and AMCU) to put the interests of the country and workers above their narrow interests. The issue that seems to have stoked the latest trouble are the kind of regular issues which should have been resolved without resorting to such drastic action like the downing of tools. Workers must be aware that the unprotected strike could have serious consequences not only for themselves, but for the future of the mine and that of their jobs.

“I would also like to appeal to Lonmin management to do everything possible to make sure that the problems are resolved as soon as possible without further damage. It is in the best interest of the country for both unions and management at Lonmin to demonstrate required levels of leadership and industrial relations management. The department is on hand to provide all the necessary help especially mediation through the CCMA,” asserted Oliphant.

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