Work stoppage hits Lonmin, Amcu believed to be behind it
Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, was hit by a work stoppage on Tuesday, the company said.
"We had a work stoppage at Newman and Saffy shafts," spokeswoman Sue Vey said.
About 6000 workers arrived for the morning shift, but did not go underground.
"We believe at this stage it is to do with Amcu [the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union] wanting majority recognition agreements to be settled," Vey said.
Lonmin management and mineworkers' unions met on Tuesday afternoon.
The unions involved were Amcu, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity, and Uasa.
"All other shafts are operating as normal. There are nine shafts and two aren't operating," said Vey.
She said workers gathered outside the shafts early on Tuesday morning, but returned to their hostels later.
"Everything is peaceful and there are no incidents of violence and intimidation."
She could not say exactly how much the work stoppage would cost Lonmin, but that it would amount to a day's lost production.
In a statement, Lonmin said it had been in discussions with unions since December about a new recognition dispensation to promote industrial democracy and inclusivity.
"This dispensation would give an appropriate voice in recognition arrangements to all Lonmin unions."
Lonmin said that, within this context, the majority union should be rightly recognised in a system which promoted inclusive representation.
"Discussions on a new recognition dispensation are ongoing and therefore we do not yet have a new recognition agreement in place."
Lonmin said this was a complex issue. It encouraged worker representatives to act responsibly and within the framework of labour legislation and the recently signed peace accord.
"We believe expediency should not trump a collaborative, consensual, if difficult process of developing a new recognition model based on inclusivity and workplace democracy."
The work stoppage comes almost seven months after 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 injured when the police opened fire, on August 16, while trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.
Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.
The Farlam commission of inquiry was appointed to probe the deaths. It is holding public hearings in Rustenburg as part of its inquiry.