25 June 2014
President Jacob Zuma has welcomed the conclusion of the five-month long strike in South Africa’s platinum mining industry.
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members returned to work at Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum mines on Wednesday, after downing tools on 23 January to press their demand for a basic monthly salary of R12 500.
Amcu has accepted a wage settlement that will increase the salary of the lowest-paid worker by R1 000 a month over three years. Salaries are set to increase by R1 000 in the first two years and by R950 in the third year.
The salary of officials and artisans will increase by 8% in the first year and by 7.5% in the second and third year. While mine workers’ living-out allowance will not be increased over the three-year period, other benefits will increase annually based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
“We welcome this positive development in the mining industry and congratulate all those who have been involved in the negotiations,” Zuma said in a statement on Tuesday.
“A long protracted strike was no longer in the interests of the parties involved or the country at large,” Zuma said, adding that the government looked forward to working with mining companies and unions to implement measures “to revitalise mining towns and restore labour stability in the sector”.
In his State of the Nation address earlier this month, Zuma said the government would push for the implementation of the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry that was agreed on by labour, business and government last year.
Zuma said he would take over this process himself, to ensure that the government implemented its undertaking, as part of the agreement, to build housing and other services to revitalise mining towns, with a focus on the mining areas of Motlosana, Emalahleni, Sekhukhune, Lephalale, West Rand and Matjhabeng.
At the same time, the government would pressure mining companies to meet their Mining Charter targets in order to improve the lives of mineworkers.
“Companies are expected to convert or upgrade hostels into family units, attain the occupancy rate of one person per room and also facilitate home ownership options for mine workers,” Zuma said, adding: “We urge the companies to meet the 2014 deadline for these targets and extend this right to dignity to mine workers.”