S Africa – Marikana miners return to work

BBC

Miners in South Africa are returning to work at the Marikana platinum complex, which was the scene of violent protests in which 44 people died.

Striking miners gesture after they were informed of a 22 percent wage increase offer outside Lonmin's Marikana mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, September 18, 2012

Striking miners reached an agreement with owners Lonmin on Tuesday. It will see their salaries rise by up to 22%.

Lonmin is hoping to recover some of the big losses it incurred during the six-week stoppage.

An investigation is under way into the deaths of the miners, 34 of whom were shot by police.

The strikes have spread to other mines in South Africa, one of the world’s biggest producers of precious metals.

Spreading strikes
On Monday, President Jacob Zuma said the disruption had cost the industry $548m (£337m) in lost output.

On Wednesday, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters near a mine owned by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s largest platinum producer.

Amplats had re-opened its mines on Tuesday after they were closed last week.

Last week, the government announced it would clamp down on the protests.

The Marikana miners had been demanding a monthly salary of 12,500 rand ($1,513; £935) – they currently earn between 4,000 and 5,000 rand.

As well as a pay rise of 11-22%, they will get a one-off payment of 2,000 rand to help cover the weeks of not being paid while they were on strike.

Analysts had warned that the Lonmin deal could encourage other miners to down tools to obtain pay hikes.

Some 15,000 miners at Gold Fields’ Dreifontein Gold Mine remain on strike.  BBC

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