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You can't strike forever, Zuma warns

Johannesburg - Irresponsibility appears to be playing a part in the prolonged platinum mining strike, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

“The strike has gone on too long. The strike is not helping workers,” he told editors at a briefing in Johannesburg.

President Jacob Zuma. File photo: Gcina Ndwalane. Credit: Independent Newspapers

“There's a limit to a strike. You can't just have it forever. You can't prolong that thing forever.”

Zuma, a former trade unionist himself, said union leaders had a responsibility to ensure two things - that they fought for better conditions and wages for workers, and protected their jobs.

“I find there's an irresponsibility element here. You can't go on with a strike that at the end makes them lose their jobs. That is irresponsible.

“In any negotiations, you must be ready to give and take. You must be ready to compromise.”

Zuma said the government was monitoring the strike and was ready to help employers and workers reach a solution.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union in the platinum sector downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic salary of R12 500 per month.

Estimates are that so far the strike has cost employees over R7 billion in income, and producers around R15.9bn in revenue.

Sapa

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