Today's Labour News

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strike thumb medium85 85Business Times recalls that at the start of 2014, two years after the Marikana tragedy, platinum mineworkers went on a five-month wage strike that only ended towards the end of June that year.  

The strike was the culmination of a series of disputes that began as wildcat strikes led by rock drill operators at Impala Platinum (Implats) as far back as 2009.  The campaign for a R12,500 monthly wage spread through the platinum belt and on 16 August 2012 led to the massacre of 34 workers outside Lonmin's Marikana mine.  A number of miners reflect in this article on the 2014 strike and on the preceding events at Marikana.  Hlulakele Zembe, a rock driller at Implats, said:  "It was worth the sacrifice of the long strike and the poverty that accompanied it.  Even though we do not yet get the R12,500 a month pay, we are quite happy.  We have received real increases, not the 10% increase we used to get."  He added:  "Five years later [after the strike] I can say we have got our dignity back.  Mathunjwa (president of union Amcu) has delivered.  The people who died at Marikana, it was worth it - there are always losses in battle."  Implats boilermaker assistant Maphakge Williams indicated:  "Life is good.  We're really happy.  Since Amcu came in during the strikes, we have received good salary increases."  At Lonmin's Wonderkop hostel, Bigboy Lukhele echoed Zembe's sentiments of an improved life, saying:  "The strike helped a lot.  Even though money is never enough, we have a much better life now.  Amcu has delivered."

  • Read this report by Sikonathi Mantshantsha in full at BusinessLive
  • Read too, ‘Our Marikana heroes changed our lives’, at City Press

Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page