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South Africa's Five-Month Platinum Strike 'Officially Over'

The five-month platinum strike that has plagued South African workers and platinum producers has officially ended.On Monday, South Africas AMCU union de...

Admin
|Jun 24|magazine4 min read

The five-month platinum strike that has plagued South African workers and platinum producers has officially ended.

On Monday, South Africa’s AMCU union declared the platinum strike ‘officially over’ as thousands of miners rejoiced.

“Today we are creating a historic day in the mining sector,” Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union told the crowd of miners. “The platinum sector will never be the same. What other unions have failed to do over many years, you have achieved in five months.”

The five-month strike first began Jan.23 as 70,000 workers put down their tools to demand higher wages and benefits.

The AMCU had initially demanded wages to be raised to US$1,200 a month. Members of the union, however, settled for three-year deals that amount to monthly increases of 20 percent, approximately US$1,150 a month.

“I'm very glad the strike is over, because we made a terrible wound in the South African economy and we are happy to heal that wound. Our children are suffering because they had no food,” Lucas Makgwe, a miner at Amplats told reporters at the gathering on Monday.

The companies involved in the strike - Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum –have lost several billion dollars in revenue during the work stoppage.

Although the resolution of the platinum strike is a welcomed one, the sector also faces a painful restructuring with job cuts almost inevitable. This could also trigger a further wave of walkouts or violence.