Business, Economics and Jobs

South Africa: Jacob Zuma reveals 'action package' to end mine strikes


Brett Murray's painting of Jacob Zuma, 'The Spear,' on display in Johannesburg prior to its defacement.



JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — President Jacob Zuma has revealed an "action package" toward ending the epidemic of strikes at South Africa's mines, calling for miners to return to work and mine bosses to take a salary freeze.

Months of often violent wage strikes, mainly in the gold and platinum sectors, have undermined investor confidence and roiled the South African economy.

In a statement to media, Zuma said his government wants to address underlying issues including the dire housing situation in mining communities, wage pressures caused by high levels of personal debt, and problems of income disparity, which "create resentment and limit our social cohesion as South Africans."

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"We have developed an action package that covers a number of interventions to address these," Zuma said Wednesday following a meeting between government, labor unions and business leaders.

The agreement calls for industrial relations in the mining sector to be "normalized as a matter of priority," with workers on wildcat strikes immediately returning to their jobs.

"We agreed that violence and intimidation must come to an end. These have no role in our system and simply have a negative effect," Zuma said.

The South African president also said mining company executives should agree to a salary freeze for the next year.

"While many accords and social agreements have been reached in the past, we want this to be different in the speed and focus of our implementation," Zuma said.

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