The South African business community and the world at large is now breathing a sigh of relief as it emerged on Tuesday that the warring parties in the more than five month strike in the platinum industry was officially declared at an end.
The platinum producers, Lonmin, Impala Platinum Producers and the Anglo-American Platinum Producers were reported on Tuesday morning to have signed a new wage deal that marked the beginning of the end for the massive strike, which started on January 23 and is estimated to have sucked in more than 70 000 mineworkers. The deal was signed between these platinum producers and the new worker representatives, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). This was revealed by the representative of the platinum producers, Charmane Russell outside the Lonmin offices north of Johannesburg. Details of the agreement were not made available but both parties were noticeably elated with the deal that had been hammered by their representatives. The AMCU leaders confirmed that workers would be expected to show up at their place of work on Wednesday.
Be that as it may, there is a lot of concern for the damage that the strike may have done to the mining sector in particular and the South African economy at large. Many economists are in agreement that it will take some time for the economy to recover. They cite the mines themselves with particular reference to the mine shafts whose future is said to hang in the balance when the workers resume their duties. A further bone of contention is the laying off of workers. While this was a sticking point in the negotiations, the mining bosses have not minced their words about how unavoidable this will be.
A further area of concern would be the financial recovery of the workers. Since the principle ‘no work no pay’ applied, the workers have not been receiving any income since January. According to a website set up by the companies, the workers have forfeited well over R10.6 billion in wages while the companies have lost more than R24 billion.
However, the key thing at the moment especially for the miners is that, by the end of the three year period, a number of the workers will be getting the much wanted R12 500.