19 September 2012
Lonmin Platinum mine and union representatives on Tuesday signed a wage agreement, bringing to an end a six-week strike that left 44 people dead at Marikana in South Africa’s North West province.
The miners are expected to return to work on Thursday.
In terms of the agreement, the lowest-paid worker will earn R9 611 a month and the highest-paid R13 022 before deductions, and all workers who return to work at once will receive a once-off R2 000 bonus.
Rock drill operators will now earn R11 078, production team leaders R13 022, and operators R9 883.
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the Department of Labour have been assisting the parties during the negotiations.
North West Premier Thandi Modise welcomed the settlement.
“Beyond the wage settlement, parties have a responsibility to rebuild trust among themselves so that the healing process assists in bringing closure to a tragic chapter in the history of wage negotiations in the mining sector,” Modise said on Wednesday.
“We should never ever again be in a situation where all of us emerge as losers.”
She urged workers to reorganise themselves within union structures for collective bargaining, and thanked the South African Council of Churches and traditional leaders for playing a significant role in resolving the conflict through mediation.
Modise said that, for its part, the province would continue engaging the relevant national government departments and mining houses on the issue of implementing social labour plans and decent housing in the sector.
She also appealed for calm and a cessation of hostilities at other mines in the province and for engagements within the framework of the Labour Relations Act to be speeded up to avoid further violent confrontations.