'Miners living conditions need to improve'

The wage agreement between Lonmin management and workers has been officially signed.

Mzukisi and Nkosilungile Goqweni said one had to pay a bribe to get employment at Lonmin's Marikana mine. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza on Tuesday said the poor living conditions of miners will continue to be a problem, despite the increase.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) agreed.

It said the increase still doesn't detract away from the levels of inequalities within salaries, but the party thinks it's a step in the right direction.

It hopes the settlement will bring stability to the area, so families of Marikana victims can finally receive the financial assistance they need.

The wage agreement between Lonmin management and workers was welcomed.

The striking workers accepted salary increases of between 11 and 22 percent yesterday evening, ending a five-week long violent strike.

It was the second offer put on the table by Lonmin management, as miners had initially demanded a R12,500 increase.

The newly agreed deal means rock drill operators will receive a R11 078 salary before deductions, while production team leaders will be paid R13 022, and operators R9 883.

Workers, who return to work on Thursday, will also receive a once-off bonus of R2,000.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said it would consult with members on the agreement over the next two days.

It said Lonmin miners had not informed them of signing new contracts.

The striking workers decided to represent themselves in wage talks, accusing unions of not negotiating the best deal of their behalf.

Economists have described the wage settlement as a win for both the Lonmin mine and its miners.

Economist Dawie Roodt said the settlement is fair, considering that both Lonmin and the miners could have lost much more because of low production.

A total of 45 people have died since the beginning of the strike, 34 were shot by police during clashes on 16 August.