Platinum mineworkers will never recover from the five-month strike in the platinum mining sector, SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande said on Thursday.
“We welcome the ending of the strike, although the settlement percentages are close to those previously achieved by NUM,” he told delegates at the National Union of Mineworkers central executive committee meeting in Johannesburg.
“The strike was disastrous, and workers will not recover from the five months lost.”
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union embarked on a strike at platinum mines on January 23 for a salary of R12 500 a month. The strike ended in June with the miners accepting a wage increase amounting to less than that figure.
Nzimande said the strike settlement had “narrowly” focused on remuneration.
“Remuneration is not the sole component of transformation, there are many other concerns above remuneration.”
Mining companies, such Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum, and Lonmin, were preparing to mechanise, close some shafts and retrench workers.
“These three companies have avoided central bargaining and worked with vigilante unions … meanwhile senior managers there pay themselves huge salaries and benefits.”
He said a planned mining indaba should focus on radical economic transformation.
“The mining indaba should be used to drive the second phase of economic transition. It should look into stopping the grading systems in the mines, and examine how lack of housing, the role of loan sharks, and lack of policing services in mining areas impacts on workers.”
Earlier, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi told delegates plans were in place to hold a mining indaba. – Sapa