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Striking workers at South Africa’s Lonmin platinum mine scored a victory on Tuesday when mine owners agreed to an 11-to-22 percent pay rise, allowing work to resume today. The striking workers, who gained international headlines after police shot and killed protestors over a month ago, celebrated the wage increase and other victories, as detailed in a Guardian article:
On Tuesday strikers gathered near the Marikana mine 60 miles north-west of Johannesburg cheered when they were informed of London-listed Lonmin’s final offer. It includes a 22% pay increase for rock drillers – taking their pay to just over 11,000 rand (£825) a month–and a one-off payment of 2,000 rand (£150) to help cover nearly six weeks of not receiving wages while on strike, Bishop Joe Seoka, a member of the negotiating team, told Associated Press.
About 5,000 strikers gathered in a stadium to hear the deal, and cheered and sang when they finally accepted the offer, described as record-breaking. They formed a line and danced out of the stadium. “You have won as workers,” Seoka told the crowd. He said there would be further negotiations in October when they could discuss a further increase.
One worker held up a hand with the phrase “Mission Accomplished” written in black ink.
But tensions are still high as strikers at a nearby mine, spurred on by the Lonmin settlement, clashed with police on Thursday morning. Al Jazeera reports:
Within hours of Lonmin agreeing pay rises of up to 22 per cent, workers at nearby mines called for similar pay increases on Wednesday, spelling more trouble after six weeks of industrial action that claimed more than 40 lives and rocked South Africa’s economy.
Police clashed with a crowd of men carrying traditional weapons such as spears and machetes in a township at a nearby Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine outside the city of Rustenburg.
Officers fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse an “illegal gathering”, police spokesman Dennis Adriao said. He had no information on any injuries.