South Africa Platinum Mine Strike 'Officially Over'
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"The strike is officially over," Mathunjwa said, to unrestrained jubilation from the tens of thousands of workers packed into Rustenburg's
The companies -
When the strike began
The industry is a pillar of the struggling South African economy.
Markets react to news
On reports of the news, the spot price of platinum fell 1 percent, the rand firmed nearly 1 percent against the dollar to two-week highs and the
The precious metal's two biggest producers,
Industry sources said they could not confirm signings would take place on Tuesday but expected workers to return this week, Reuters reported.
"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 Reuters.
"Today we are creating a historic day in the mining sector," Mathunjwa, clad in a trademark AMCU green shirt, told the crowd.
"The platinum sector will never be the same. What other unions have failed to do over many years, you have achieved in five months," he said.
Mathunjwa said "companies agreed to the bulk of our demands," although "it has not been easy."
He acknowledged that not all workers would obtain their wage demand of
The increases offered by the three companies differ according to various worker categories.
The current minimum wage stands at about
The mining companies, constrained by depressed prices and soaring costs, had said the massive hikes AMCU was initially seeking would sink the industry.
Strike cost billions
There was no immediate reaction from the producers, who said earlier that "further progress towards a return to work has been made" but gave no details, simply stating they were expecting to receive feedback from AMCU after the meeting.
Marred at times by violence, the strike hit 40 percent of global production of platinum, which is used in jewelry and for emissions-capping catalytic converters in automobiles.
The stoppage dragged
Companies will lose revenue for several more weeks as the mines slowly grind back into life and production is restarted.
The resolution, while welcome, does not spell an end to the most turbulent bout of labor unrest since the end of white-minority rule, with the NUMSA metal workers' union threatening a strike in the auto industry next month.
The platinum sector also faces a painful restructuring, with job cuts almost inevitable - in part because of the losses incurred during the AMCU strike. That could trigger a further wave of walkouts or violence.
Meanwhile, the country's labor court has declared unlawful a planned gold mining strike by the same union, AMCU, gold producers said Monday.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.
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