No-one likes a strike. Industrial action is bad for employers, workers, the economy and society. In an inherently violent country such as SA, strikes don’t merely herald the prospect of lost wages and production but also carry the real risk of death and mayhem.

Given its turbulent past, the mining sector’s shift to peacefully negotiated, long-term wage settlements is significant, and signals a maturation of the relationship between employers and labour unions. Last week, miner Harmony Gold joined the ranks of diamond producer De Beers and a swathe of platinum group metal miners, including Anglo American and mining and metals processor Sibanye-Stillwater, that have clinched similar wage agreements...

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