Miners welcome end of strike19/09/2012 - 13:22:41
Thousands of South African miners have celebrated a wage deal that ended their deadly strike, but violence erupted at a different pit after police broke up what they called an illegal gathering.
The second strike is at Amplats mine near Rustenburg, owned by Anglo American Platinum which earlier claimed its workers were not striking, but that it had shut down operations to ensure their safety against violent threats.
At Marikana, the scene of the now-settled strike by Lonmin miners, thousands gathered and sang in celebration at a football stadium.
Many said they were happy to return to work on Thursday and that the strike that saw 45 people killed has finally come to an end.
Lonmin agreed to pay rises and a bonus for returning to work.
“I am so happy,” said Mvenyeza Luhlaziyao, 48, a painter at the mines. “I try to forget the past and continue to move forward to build on the company and make it all all right. We must continue to build the company and management must listen to us in the future. People didn’t care about us, that’s why we decided to go on strike.”
Riddick Mofokeng, another miner, said he also felt good about the deal.
“It is not what we expected to get, but it is great,” he said. “Most of the people, we are ready to go back to work.”
Zolisa Bodlani, a leader for the mine workers in the strikes, said the agreement is noteworthy. “If no people were killed, I’d say this was a great achievement,” he said.
Joseph Mathunjwa, of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, said that they will be putting a trust fund together for the families who lost members to the shootings.
Delegates from unions, strikers not represented by unions, and the London-registered company signed the final wage deal late on Tuesday night in Mooinooi, close to Marikana.
The agreement for the company’s miners ends a strike with political and economic repercussions, but does not resolve South Africa’s huge economic inequality and the government’s failure to address massive unemployment and poverty.
more stories like this:
- once per day, no spam.