Johannesburg - The resolution of the five-month strike in the platinum mining sector was welcomed by the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) on Tuesday.
“Sacci welcomes the end of the strike in the platinum sector and wishes to congratulate all stakeholders involved in finally resolving the wage dispute,” chief executive Neren Rau said in a statement.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union announced on Monday that the protracted platinum sector strike was officially over.
The union was expected to sign wage agreements with the platinum producers later on Tuesday.
Rau said it would be difficult to make up for lost production and economic activity due to the lengthy strike.
Plans for how future strikes of the scope and magnitude of the platinum strike could be avoided needed to be debated, and South Africa's industrial relations framework needed to be reviewed.
“Sacci calls on the department of labour to introduce a compulsory secret strike ballot to ensure that individual workers have a say in negotiations so as to avoid worker intimidation,” Rau said.
“Sacci remains convinced that the extent of damage wrought upon communities and economic growth and the established attendant criminality seriously brings into question whether open-ended industrial action remains appropriate in the current economy.”
North West premier Supra Mahumapelo also welcomed the end of the strike, saying it would “pave the way for peace and stability to be restored and for mining operations to return to full productivity”.
Mahumapelo said the resolution of the strike averted what could have become a “human catastrophe”, even though the economy had already suffered.
“(We) pledge our support for the healing process that needs to unfold in the aftermath of the violence and losses suffered during the protracted strike,” he said.
On January 23, Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum downed tools, demanding a monthly basic salary of R12,500.
The union accepted wage settlements on Monday that would increase the basic salary of the lowest-paid worker by R1000 over three years, excluding other benefits, union leader Joseph Mathunjwa told about 20,000 members at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng, near Rustenburg.
Some workers would receive R12,500 before the end of the agreement, he said.
Workers would receive back pay within seven days of returning to their jobs on Wednesday.
When Mathunjwa asked members whether the union should accept the offer, they chanted “yes, yes”, pointing their fingers upwards.
Mathunjwa said the agreements, which he hailed as a milestone in the history of mineworkers, would be signed on Tuesday and would run for three years. - Sapa