JOHANNESBURG, Sept 8 Workers in South Africa's
motor and gold industries will return to work this week after
strikes that have crippled operations at some of the country's
biggest producers were resolved on Sunday.
Prolonged labour disputes in the two key exporting
industries had threatened to compound the woes of Africa's
largest economy, still reeling from last year's violent strikes
in mining and continuing problems in the platinum sector.
"We are calling off the strike so workers can return on
Monday," the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa's
(NUMSA) deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said on Sunday.
The dispute over pay affected more than 30,000 assembly line
workers at major carmakers in South Africa, including Toyota
, Ford, General Motors and Nissan.
Cloete said the union recommended workers accept an increase
of 11.5 percent for this year and 10 percent in each of the next
Separately, Harmony Gold Mining said employees
striking at its operations had agreed to an offer that would
hopefully see them return to work as of Sunday night.
This brings to an end the gold industry strike which started
on Tuesday night. Workers at other gold majors like AngloGold
Ashanti and Sibanye Gold returned to work on
Friday after accepting the industry offer of an increase of
between 7.5 and 8 percent.
"Harmony increased its offer in respect of wages and
benefits in line with other producers, in the interests of
long-term industrial relations stability, safety and security in
the sector, and on condition that employees returned to work,"
Harmony chief executive Graham Briggs said in a statement.
But smaller strikes are still threatened. Petrol station and
car dealership workers plan to stay away from work on Monday.
In the gold industry, the Association of Mineworkers and
Construction Union (AMCU) decided on Sunday to press ahead with
plans to halt several operations should bullion producers not
give in to calls for a doubling of wages.
A strike by AMCU, while not as extensive as last week's
strike called by its rival the National Union of Mineworkers
(NUM), will hit some of country's biggest mines.
AMCU wants basic pay hiked by at least 150 percent to 12,500
rand ($1,200) while the NUM settled for increases of between 7.5
and 8 percent.
The three-day strike called by the NUM last week was
peaceful in contrast to the illegal stoppages in 2012, when a
violent turf war between the NUM and AMCU erupted.
In the last 18 months more than 60 people have lost their
lives in union clashes.