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Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) members at Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin mines have downed tools on the morning shift of Thursday. A separate AMCU strike in the gold mines have been delayed.
The mining sector has played a key role in South Africa’s economic development. The sector accounts for roughly one-third of the market capitalisation of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
AMCU secretary general Jeff Mpahlele said this will force “the employers to the negotiating table”. South Africa produces more than 80% of the world’s platinum.
34 miners were shot dead in Marikana last year during a wage protest.
South Africa’s mining sector has been hit by a series of wildcat strikes adversely impacting the economy.
Mines employ 2.9 per cent of South Africa’s economically active population, which translates to more than half a million jobs.
Addressing a labour conference on Wednesday in East Pretoria, South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said “workers and managers must go to work without fear that anyone would harm them”.
Motlanthe has been charged by President Jacob Zuma to make efforts to stabilize the crucial sector.
“Workers must be free to exercise their Constitutional right to join any trade union of their choice, to declare disputes, to strike and to engage in any form of peaceful protest,” Motlanthe urged on Wednesday.