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Strikes: Zuma reveals ‘action package’

Oct 17 2012 18:28
Pretoria - The government, organised labour, business and civil society have committed to helping recover investor confidence in the economy, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

They had agreed that spontaneous acts of intimidation and violence were affecting the economy, he said after a meeting of government ministers, trade union leaders and business representatives at the Union Buildings.

"The parties agree to take steps to improve public and investor confidence in the economy and in social stability, using their respective resources and capacities to build a partnership for development.

"We agreed that the industrial relations environment in the mining sector must be normalised as a matter of priority."

On behalf of all parties represented at Wednesday's summit, Zuma said workers engaged in unprotected strikes across the country should return to work immediately.

"We call on workers who are engaged in unprotected strikes to return to work as soon as possible, and for production in the mining industry to normalise.

"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 constitutional right to protest should be exercised peacefully.

"We will not compromise on this. The parties fully support all lawful action by the justice, crime prevention and security cluster (of government) to stabilise communities and normalise daily lives across all communities."

The frustrations and problems of workers, particularly in the mining sector, had been taken note of, said Zuma. Legitimate grievances would be addressed.

"These include addressing the housing needs of mining communities, the pressures on wages caused by high levels of personal debt and the challenge of high income and wage disparities which create resentment and limit our social cohesion as South Africans."

To this effect, Zuma said an "action package" would be rolled out.

"While many accords and social agreements have been reached in the past, we want this (package) to be different in the speed and focus of our implementation. We will monitor implementation at the highest level, with ministers and social partner leaders meeting regularly and reporting to me."

He said the partners at the summit agreed to establishment a new partnership aimed at addressing the problem of housing in mining areas. These included Rustenburg, Lephalale, Emalahleni, the West Rand, Welkom, Klerksdorp, and Carletonville.

Wednesday's summit was a follow-up to an initial meeting held on Friday.

"We have emerged today with one voice, one message and strong confidence in our capacity as a society to address the immediate challenges we face, and to lay the basis for long-term growth and job creation," Zuma said.

Those attending Wednesday's meeting included Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa, and Federation of Unions of SA general secretary Dennis George.


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