The NEHAWU calls for South African Government to intervene in Lonmin strike
Written by Sheree Hanna
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) has issued a press release calling on the South African Government to intervene in wage negotiations at Lonmin’s Marikana Mine where the current pay dispute has led to two workers being killed.
The two workers were killed yesterday morning as they reported for work at the controversial platinum mine in South Africa, which two years ago was the scene of the Marikana Massacre.
On August 16, 2012 clashes with the South African Police Service resulted in the deaths of 44 striking mineworkers and a further 78 additional workers were injured.
During this year’s negotiations Lonmin took its wage offer directly to employees, sidestepping the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.
Lonmin was expecting a provisional return to work last Wednesday, May 14, but stated in a press release that while a lot of employees had indicated their intention to return to work, many were fearful of doing so.
The two mineworkers who lost their lives had been attempting to return to work.
The NEHAWU statement says: “We support the demands of all mine workers for a living wage and better working conditions.
“They deserve fair compensation equivalent to the dangers of their work as highlighted by the tragedy in Turkey.
“…We call on the exploitative mining companies to accede to fair and affordable demands for workers. We also call on the South African government to intervene and facilitate the process of finding a solution to this impasse.”
Lonmin has also released its latest half year figures which show the impact of strike action has resulted in platinum production falling by 41 percent.
Chief Executive Ben Magara said: “This has been a challenging first half of the year, latterly dominated by protracted industrial action across the platinum group metals sector.
“Whilst we continue to work to resolve this dispute we have also taken decisive and early action to reduce cash burn, to safeguard our great assets and protect our balance sheet integrity ahead of a safe and successful ramp-up when the strike ends.”
The financial statement also said a restructuring and job cuts were inevitable given that some of its shafts had already been loss making before the dispute, but the strikes had made the need more urgent.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.