The end of the five month platinum strike which has been chipping away at the South African platinum industry is finally in sight, according to the newly appointed South African Mining Minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodi.
The Mining Minister said today that he hoped to resolve the strike, the longest and costliest in South African history, by the end of the week. Ramatlhodi has met with AMCU, Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo Platinum each seperately and says that he hopes to initiate a meeting with them for Thursday afternoon.
A report from newspaper Business Report stated that the union, AMCU, has accepted a wage proposal slightly less than their current “living wage” demand, according to a source close to the negotiation team led by the government.
Ramatlhodi, working with a governmental task team, committed himself to mediating between the unions and mining executives last week and has acted with intent to achieve a ground-breaking level of progress in the negotiations, which have been at a standstill for many of the five months which the strike has lasted.
Thus far, the strike has caused a 24.7% decline in South African total mining output and a 40% decline in global platinum output. The damage to the economy of South Africa has been far-reaching, with the miners themselves definitely feeling the brunt of the situation. Five months of no pay has led to increased crime in their residential areas and food and blanket parcels having to be dispersed by aid-companies and similar organisations. Overall, the country as a whole will undoubtedly be pleased with the conclusion of the protracted wage strike.
The newly appointed Mining Minister claims to have made ground with negotiations overall and is confident it will be resolved in the near future. “It’s a work in progress, but so far so good,” he said today.
Ramatlhodi has been praised by AMCU and will no doubt be commended by many for the progress made after just one week after being sworn into his position. The effort which has been expended at the hands of the Minister and his task team is in stark contrast to his predecessor.