As the gold strike at Sibanye-Stillwater enters its third month with as little as R200 between the parties, it seems that no one has learnt the lessons of the historic Marikana platinum strike.
The platinum strike in 2014, which happened two years after the horrific massacre of workers in 2012, was the longest in SA’s history and lasted five months. Workers made an historic gain in wages but lost heavily thereafter when platinum mines sunk into decline and jobs were lost.
Now, again a long strike is under way, with workers taking on huge short-term losses, but this time only for a R200 a month long-term gain. The lowest paid have lost more than R20 000 in basic pay, and R37 000 when you include benefits and allowances. If the strike ended tomorrow with no improvement on the offer it will take them more than two years to recoup their losses. If they win, it will be 20 months before they break even.