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Workers take the first steps to getting back to work at the platinum mines

by , 25 June 2014

Following the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the platinum producers signing new wage deals yesterday, workers are streaming back to the mines today. But it will be at least a week before any type of production resumes. Let's take a closer look at what's going on…

The longest strike in South African history is over

This morning saw thousands of workers going back to the platinum mines of Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin, reports Fin24. The signing of new wage deals saw the end of “a five-month strike, the longest and most damaging in the country’s history”.

But before workers can resume their duties, they need to “undergo medical and other checks” before going underground to restart production, adds Fin24.

As workers get back to the mines, the workers’ health isn’t the only consideration. There will be a big focus on safety “during the first two weeks” also, says BDLive.

More than 70% of Lonmin’s employees returned to work today

At lunchtime today, Lonmin said that more than 70% of its workforce had returned to work, reports the SABC. The platinum producer said it believed other workers were on route from “the SADC countries and the other provinces such as the Eastern Cape”.

Anglo American Platinum gave its returning workers “food parcels to help ease the deprivation suffered during the platinum strike,” adds the SABC. They were also given “health supplements and transport relief”.

The strike, which began on 23 January, “hit 40% of global production” of platinum, says MineWeb. It cost the affected platinum producers “R24 billion in lost revenue”.

The lengthy strike highlights the “stranglehold unions have over a flat lining economy,” reports Fin24. As workers return, “some shafts are unlikely to reopen and job losses are inevitable”.

As production and normality resumes at the mines, the platinum producers will be looking at how to recoup losses and make money going forward.

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Workers take the first steps to getting back to work at the platinum mines
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