The Independent newspaper in South Africa reports today, that the three largest platinum mining companies, the mineworkers’ unions, and the South African government have agreed on a draft agreement aimed at restoring peace to the nations mining sector, which has recently been wracked by violent confrontations. Not only has there been violence and wildcat strikes at mines, but the feud between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has led to the murder of shop stewards on both sides.
The unions have been demanding pay raises of up to 60%, while at the same time the mining companies have been arguing with the government to be allowed to close unprofitable mines to stem corporate losses.
The unions have pledged to work harder to dissuade their members from committing vigilante justice or starting wildcat strikes, the mining companies have promised to resolve labor issues quickly, and the government has announced plans to increase security at mines and ensure impartiality when dealing with unrest.
The entire nation has suffered over the troubles in the mining industry, with strikes last year causing $1.5 billion USD in lost output, and cost South Africa a half percent of national GDP. Wildcat strikes and open warfare between the two unions has roiled the South African economy, devalued the national currency the rand, and according to President Zuma, has already contracted 2013 GDP 0.3%