Platinum miners who accepted a pay raise after a month-long deadly strike in Ghana were scheduled to go back to work Sept. 20.

Lonmin, the world’s third largest platinum mine, agreed to offer gross pay of 11,078 rand, or $1,385, for rock drill operators who had been demanding a monthly take-home wage of 12,500 rand, or $1,560. They also agreed to give all miners a 2,000 rand bonus, equivalent to $250, for returning to work.

A statement from the company said that miners will receive between 11 and 22 percent wage increases, according to the Associated Press.

“I am so happy,” painter Mvenyeza Luhlaziyao told the AP. “I try to forget the past and continue to move forward…We must continue to build the company and management must listen to us in the future. People didn’t care about us, that’s why we decided to go on strike.”

Ghana’s leaders believe the agreement will create unrest at other mining corporations.

“It sets a dangerous precedent and illegal actions to enforce wage increases could occur at other mines in future,” said Gideon du Plessis, head of the mining union, according the AP.

Thousands of Lonmin miners went on strike in August demanding a raise. Members of a radical union advised workers to embark on the strike to get higher pay and improved working conditions. The workers, armed with machetes, spears, and clubs, refused to go back to work until their needs were met.

Over the course of the five-week bloodbath, 112 people were wounded and 46 people were killed by police.

“If no people were killed, I’d say this was a great achievement,” Zolisa Bodlani, one of the strike leaders, told the AP. 

Brittany Buchanan

Special to the AFRO