Strike action led by the NUM started with the night shift on Tuesday 13 January, when about 5 000 members of NUM downed tools and demanded the removal of chief executive Paul Dunne over what they say are unfair hiring and firing practices.
Northam has confirmed, however, that employees started returning to work with effect from the night shift on Tuesday 20 January. Zondereinde general manager Danny Gonsalves welcomed the end to the industrial action and thanked all parties for the constructive discussions which led to this point.
NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu added that a memorandum of understanding was signed in which management agreed to address these practices and also complaints around sick leave, and that no worker will face disciplinary action for the illegal strike.
“The two parties committed themselves to peace for stability at the mine,” he said.
The strike action resulted in production losses of around 1 000oz of PGMs per day, equating to revenue of R11.5 million per day. Employees forfeited wages and benefits in the order of R2.4 million per day.