June 23 - Celebrations have been taking place in South Africa after the AMCU union declared a five-month platinum strike ''officially over.'' As Ciara Sutton reports the industrial action has cost the country billions of dollars.
Officially over - South Africa's longest strike. "Yes, Yes" roared thousands of platinum miners when the leader of the AMCU union read out the wage deal agreed with Lonmin and two other producers. (SOUNDBITE) (Zulu) ASSOCIATION OF MINEWORKERS AND CONSTRUCTION UNION (AMCU) LEADER, JOSEPH MATHUNJWA, SAYING: "Tomorrow we are going to sign the agreement, meaning the strike is officially over. Workers will start reporting to work on Wednesday" The Johannesburg stock market, where Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum are listed, had closed by the time the deal was agreed. But during trading the prospect of end to five months of strike action boosted their shares by 1 and a half percent and 1 percent respectively. The spot price of platinum also fell 1 percent. Workers will start reporting for duty on Wednesday, ending months of industrial action. ( SOUNDBITE) (English) STRIKING MINEWORKER, LUCAS MAGALE, SAYING: "I am very glad because we know that we wounded the South African economy terribly. Now we are ready to heal that wound" The AMCU union had been demanding a doubling of basic wages. In the end they settled for a deal that will increase annual wages by 20% each year for the next three years. The strikes were often violent and hit 40 percent of the world's platinum production. They also dragged South Africa's economy into contraction in the first quarter and cost the companies almost $2.25 billion in lost revenue.