June 12 - Representatives from South Africa's striking AMCU mining union urge leader Joseph Mathunjwa to sign a wage deal with the three major platinum firms. Joel Flynn reports.
Delight from South Africa's miners as hopes emerge for an end to a strike that's crippled the platinum industry. For five months unions have been at loggerheads with Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin over pay. For the first time union officials are recommending the strikers sign a deal to return to work. The 70,000 strong AMCU mining union has not yet declared industrial action over, but this could be the beginning of the end. SOUNDBITE: Striking Miner, Scelo Davids, saying (Zulu): "This wage offer must be signed, we want this money, we have been through hardship." SOUNDBITE: Striking Miner, Dumisa Hlatswayo, saying (Zulu): "This money could be better, if they can also improve our working environment, for example, if I am rock driller, I should just do that and not anything else." SOUNDBITE: Striking Miner, Mtitheni Jozana, saying (Xhosa): "We still want the R12,500, but this offer is still much better, but we still want the R12,500." The longest strike in the 130-year history of South African mining has cost an estimated $2 billion. And workers have missed out on the best part of a billion dollars in wages. The prospect of restarting an operation which produces 40% of the world's platinum output sent Lonmin shares up almost 9%, while spot platinum prices fell 2%. The rand also rallied, and South Africa's government will no doubt be as relieved as these workers to see mines working again. The latest outlook suggested the country could be heading for recession in the event of an ongoing strike.