The recently inaugurated Minister of Mineral Resources, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, has indicated that the strike involving the platinum producers and its more than 70 000 workers represented by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is very close to finding a solution.
Speaking on the national broadcaster SABC on Monday, Ramatlhodi indicated that feedback would be obtained later in the day and if there was a need for more work on the agreement, this would be done as they felt that the country could not afford another day of the strike.
It is the longest strike in the history of South Africa and evidence is that it has caused the shrinking of the country’s economy. Furthermore, the strike has also seen the deaths of several miners due to its protracted nature. The strike, which started on 23 January this year, has drawn in workers from the various mines around the Rustenburg area. These mines are Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings and Lonmin.
The AMCU, which represents the majority of the workers at these mines, started the negotiations, calling for the notorious R12 500 per month. While this figure has been maintained, there have been adjustments to its implementation. As at the point of negotiations, AMCU had wanted the basic monthly pay for entry level ground workers to be doubled to the figure by 2017.
The strike, which has reached its eighteenth week, has led to a loss of more than R20 billion rand in sales for the producers. This amounts to a cut in mining’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product that is the biggest in forty-seven years according to Statistics South Africa. In the media, it is reported that three of the producers have agreed to increase wages by R800 or by 16% per year until 2017. This is all in an attempt to ensure that this most expensive strike in the history of the country is effectively brought to an end.