By THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
Thousands of platinum mineworkers return to work this week after their union leaders signed a wage agreement that increased the standard living wage to $12 a month from $6, ending the longest-running labor strike in the country’s history.
The strike, which lasted for five months, has cost the country’s mining companies more than $2 million and has affected the country’s overall economy.
Following the successful negotiation on the other end, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said this week that if an agreement is not met on during its negotiation with the metal companies, “a strike is inevitable.” The strike is set to start July 1.
Addressing the impact of the untenable labor relations environment on the nation’s economy during his State of the Union speech to the country earlier this month, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma called on the union leaders and business leaders to work together to “deliberate on wage inequality,” and agree to “a living wage” that would promote improved living conditions for mine workers. Zuma also said during the speech that his government would work on creating a national minimum wage relating to improving the living conditions of workers.
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