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Amcu, mine bosses sign deal

The agreement brings an end to the over five-month long wage strike on the platinum belt.

FILE: Amcu members walk around the Royal Bafokeng Stadium near Rustenburg with a coffin reading ‘rest in peace NUM and Cosatu’ at the union's mass meeting on 23 June 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and mine bosses on Tuesday signed an agreement to bring an end to the five-month long wage strike.

Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa, his negotiating team, and officials from Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum signed the agreement this afternoon.

About 70,000 employees affiliated to Amcu are expected back at work on the platinum belt on Wednesday morning.

Mathunjwa said the settlement improved the level of trust between all parties.

He said the protracted industrial action conclusively shows that workers are the true custodians of South Africa's economy.

"It has been a gruelling process that has yielded successful outcomes, transforming the sector to be worker-driven.

"We've improved trust during the wage negotiations and it's an ongoing process as trust must be earned."

Mathunjwa added although the deal was downplayed by platinum companies, it was a victory for workers.

POLITICIANS RESPOND

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said while South Africa recovers from the effects of the five-month long strike, there are opportunities for the country's economy to grow.

Amid reports of looming job cuts and downsizing in the troubled mining industry, as well as rising unemployment, Nene said a collaborative partnership across society was needed to stimulate the ailing economy.

A photograph of a wage agreement between Amcu and platinum mines, 23 June 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

Nene said the agreement handed the economy a much needed lifeline.

"We look forward to getting people back to work and for the mining sector to make its contribution to our economy."

Political parties also welcomed the agreement.

Members of Parliament (MPs) noted the breakthrough in the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

ANC MP Grace Tseke said the strike hurt the economy and could have led to a humanitarian crisis.

"The resolution of the strike averted what could have been a catastrophe even though the economy had already suffered."

Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis said his party also welcomed the agreement.

"We call on all parties to implement the agreement to ensure the dignity of workers is restored. We hope production can return to normal and we can continue to create jobs."

Video: Mining strike ends.