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South Africa’s crippling mining strike ends

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town
Posted on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 08:37

The end of the five month old strike follows an agreement between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Workers Union (AMCU) and platinum mining companies.

it is critical for social partners to meet and deliberate on the violent nature and duration of the strikes

Specific details of the final salary agreement released have not been made public but the deal should see the two lowest paid workers receiving annual increament of R1000.00 per month.

Workers would also be receiving back pay within seven days of returning to their jobs on Wednesday. AMCU said the strike was a victory for mineworkers.

The union and the mining companies were set to sign the agreement with the platinum companies on Tuesday.

AMCU’s members have been on strike since the beginning of the year and 30 billion rand was lost during the five month strike with workers losing close to 11 billion rand in wages.

Workers met at the Wonderkop mine in Marikana where the union’s Joseph Mathunjwa announced the deal.

AMCU members at Lonmin, Impala and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

Meanwhile, Matunjwa said he was worried about the proposed changes to the Labour Relations Act to regulate strikes.

Matunjwa’s statement came after President Jacob Zuma told Parliament in his State of the Nation address that “given the impact of the untenable labour relations environment on the economy, it is critical for social partners to meet and deliberate on the violent nature and duration of the strikes”.

This was echoed by the ruling ANC’s secretary general, Gwede Mantashe who told The Africa Report that there has to be a specific timeframe for a strike.

Mantashe hinted that changes to the legislation were in the offing.

But Mathunjwa said workers must celebrate the ‘historic’ victory and hailed it as a milestone for mineworkers. The agreement is set to run for three years.

Meanwhile, the Northwest province’s premier Supra Mahumapelo welcomed the news and said the end of the strike would “pave the way for peace and stability to be restored and for mining operations to return to full productivity”.

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