Zuma welcomes mining talks
President Jacob Zuma welcomed talks between the Chamber of Mines and unions on Friday.
Zuma congratulated the Chamber, the Congress of SA Trade Unions and the National Union of Mineworkers for starting negotiations on Thursday to end recent mining industry strikes.
"We are pleased that parties are talking, as it is only through dialogue that we can find solutions to the current wave of strikes," he said in a statement.
He pledged the government's support until a solution could be found to the problems facing the mining industry.
"We urge parties to work towards a speedy solution in order to return the situation to normalcy in the mining sector, which is the backbone of our economy."
Zuma said the living conditions of mineworkers needed to be improved and he urged mining companies to implement the social and labour plan outlined in the Mining Charter.
On Thursday, representatives of platinum companies and unions attended a meeting which was held at the Chamber of Mines, but was chaired by independent facilitators.
Facilitator Charles Nupen said there had been a "surprising" degree of unanimity from unions and companies.
Five issues had been identified for discussion: industry sustainability, centralised bargaining arrangements, wages, industry stability, and socio-economic problems.
"There is a need for us to engage on a set of agreements to restore stability to the industry," he said.
Talks would start on Monday towards an industry-wide agreement.