End of platinum strike averted ‘human catastrophe’ – premier

2014-06-24 09:50

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Agreements to end the five-month-long strike in the platinum mining sector, expected to be signed today, have been welcomed by North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

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”, Mahumapelo said today.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) announced yesterday that the platinum sector strike was officially over and it would sign wage agreements with the platinum producers.

Mahumapelo said the resolution of the strike averted what could have become a “human catastrophe”, even though the economy had already suffered.

“[We] pledge our support for the healing process that needs to unfold in the aftermath of the violence and losses suffered during the protracted strike,” he said.

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

The union accepted wage settlements yesterday that would increase the basic salary of the lowest-paid worker by R1 000 over three years, excluding other benefits, union leader Joseph Mathunjwa told about 20 000 members at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng, near Rustenburg.

Some workers would receive R12 500 before the end of the agreement, he said.

Workers would receive back pay within seven days of returning to their jobs tomorrow.

When Mathunjwa asked members whether the union should accept the offer, they chanted “yes, yes”, pointing their fingers upwards.

Mathunjwa said the agreements, which he hailed as a milestone in the history of mineworkers, would run for three years.

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