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Families, business owners count cost of Amcu strike

With Amcu members returning to work for their first salaries in almost five months, family members and businesses that have felt the pinch say that it is going to take a while to recover from the effects of the strike.

Striking Amcu members. Picture: @_AMCU/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – With Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members returning to work for their first salaries in almost five months, family members and businesses that have felt the pinch say that it is going to take a while to recover from the effects of the strike.

About 15,000 workers at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein, Kloof in Gauteng and Beatrix operations in the Free State are expected back after their union Amcu signed a wage deal that will see them earning R700 more for the next two years and R825 in the third year.

Amcu had demanded no less than R1,000 for the next three years but abandoned this when Sibanye took the matter to court.

Joseph Bila has been running a local spaza shop and a tavern for 13 years.

He said that this strike has been the toughest yet.

Meanwhile, one woman, whose sister works at the mine and is the sole breadwinner, said that she has been forced to take up sex work in order to help the family make ends meet.

“I give that person my body so I can take care of the home and for my child so he can be like any other child. It’s embarrassing and I don’t know how many other people these men have told.”

Both Bila and the woman say the strike has taken its toll on them, in ways they did not imagine.

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