Johannesburg - Platinum sector workers celebrated returning to their jobs more than their wage settlement, National Union of Mineworkers acting president Thamsanqa Matosa said on Wednesday.

“(The) majority of workers celebrated returning to work more than the wage settlement itself,” Matosa told delegates at the union's central executive committee meeting in Johannesburg.

Members of the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) last week ended a crippling five-month strike in the platinum mining sector for a R12,500 monthly salary.

“Workers were the real losers,” Matosa said.

“They have not secured the R12,500 promised... those who lost their properties as a result of non-payment will not get anything back now that the strike is over.”

He said some of the NUM's members were killed during the strike and some went on the run for fear of being killed.

“The employer has not lost a single life during the strike; the homes of employers remain intact while those of NUM members were petrol-bombed. The employer forced some NUM members to take voluntary packages because of the negative atmosphere for NUM.”

An Amcu member had recently been sentenced to 20 years in jail by a Mpumalanga court for killing NUM shop steward Jacques Naude, Matosa said.

“We welcome the court decision and hope this will send a strong message to those who are against coexistence and the right to freedom of affiliation. NUM members should fight for their existence across industries.

“Every sphere of our existence has become a battleground. NUM must recruit new members, reclaim lost ones, and provide services to those we already have.”

During the strike the NUM lost its majority status at platinum mines to Amcu. - Sapa