Wage rise and strike ban boost South African mining industry

23 June 2014 (Last Updated June 23rd, 2014 18:30)

Platinum mine workers in South Africa have returned to work ending a five-month strike and a labour court has ordered a minority union to desist from striking in gold mines, providing a major boost to the country's mining industry.

Platinum mine workers in South Africa have returned to work ending a five-month strike and a labour court has ordered a minority union to desist from striking in gold mines, providing a major boost to the country's mining industry.

More than 70,000 striking platinum workers have signed a wage revision agreement that will increase entry level salaries by around R1,000 ($94) a month.

The workers signed the agreement on Monday and will start back to work on Wednesday.

"The strike has resulted in $2bn loss for platinum miners and $1bn in salaries for workers."

The five-month industrial action is the longest in South African history and was led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which represents 80% of the platinum workforce.

The strike has resulted in a $2bn loss for platinum miners and $1bn of unpaid worker salaries. Major platinum producers Lonmin, Impala Platinum (Implats) and Anglo Platinum (Amplats) were the worst affected.

Meanwhile, a South African labour court has ordered Amcu to refrain from holding strikes in gold mines, as it is a minority union.

The union, which represents 19% of gold mine workers in the country, planned a strike in January to protest against a wage agreement between the majority union and gold producers in September 2013.

The court issued an interim order earlier this year and it was made permanent on Monday.

Chamber of Mines chief negotiator Elize Strydom was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: "What the court said is that the interim order has been made a final order. Amcu cannot go on strike about the wage agreement that was concluded last year in September. We welcome this decision."

The Chamber of Mines represented gold mining companies in the court.

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