Johannesburg, South Africa — 10 October 2012 – About 15,000 striking South African truck drivers will return to work today after employers agreed to raise wages by at least 10%, while hundreds of gold miners have been fired for being part of an unauthorised stoppage.
Bloomberg News reports that three transport unions agreed that strikes will end, according to a statement by the Road Freight Employers’ Association. Drivers will return, said Tebogo Masango, an administrator at the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union.
Meanwhile, Gold One International Limited said it had fired 1,435 out of the 1,900 workers at its Ezulwini operations over an illegal wildcat strike that started on 1 October. The workers can appeal the decision, it added.
A spate of strikes at South African platinum mines spread to other metal producers and industries after Lonmin Plc (LON) agreed to pay increases of as much as 22%, four times the inflation rate, in August. Cose to 50 people have died in violence that erupted during a six-week stoppage at Lonmin’s Marikana mine.
“It is no surprise that the strikes are spreading and we expect to see most sectors affected by some form of action this year,” John Meyer, a Fairfax IS Plc analyst in London, said in an e-mailed response to questions. The South African rand may weaken further as exports are disrupted, and as some companies say they are unable to make deliveries because of strikes, he said.
A fourth transport union said its members would remain on strike. The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, which represents about 30,000 drivers, won’t resume work and will continue talks, spokesman Vincent Masoga said by phone from here.
About 400 workers went on strike at Xstrata Alloys South Africa’s Eland platinum mine, the latest operation affected by the walkouts, the company said.
Gold and coal producers have been discussing wages with unions in a meeting, Elize Strydom, chief negotiator for the country’s Chamber of Mines, said in a phone text message. The chamber, an industry body that negotiates wages with unions on behalf of gold and coal producers, won’t reopen its agreement with workers due to end in June next year.
“We are honouring our agreement,” Strydom said.
Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.