22 Aug 2012

Trickle of miners go back to work

2:24 pm on 22 August 2012

Workers have trickled back to the South African platinum mine where 34 strikers were shot and killed by police on Thursday, but not in enough numbers to resume operations.

Lonmin said no ore was produced at the Marikana platinum mine after fewer than a third of the 28,000 workers turned up.

The company also a deadline for strikers to return to work or face dismissal has been extended to 7am on Tuesday.

Executive vice-president Mark Munroe said the company has the right to fire them after that.

A national week of mourning began on Monday and a memorial service is planned for Thursday.

Police insist they acted in self-defence. Two police officers were among 10 other people killed at Marikana before the tragedy.

Miners, who currently earn between 4000 and 5000 rand ($US484-$US605) per month, say they want their pay increased to 12,500 rand.

The dispute is complicated by a dispute between two rival unions.

On Thursday, Lonmin had said that the strike meant it would lose 15,000 ounces of platinum production. Shares in Lonmin ended the week down more than 10% in London.