Johannesburg - The largest platinum producers said a more than eight-week strike by members of the biggest union at their South African operations started causing irreversible damage to the mines, with sales losses exceeding R10 billion.
There is still no dialog over the impasse with the Association of Mining and Construction Union, which has led more than 70,000 employees on strike since January 23, Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin said in a joint statement today.
Workers have lost more than 4.4 billion rand in wages, they said.
The financial cost of the strike didn’t “tell the full story,” the producers said.
“Mines and shafts are becoming unviable; people are hungry; children are not going to school; businesses are closing and crime in the platinum belt is increasing.”
The Amcu is demanding basic wages to be more than doubled within three years to 12,500 rand a month, compared with current minimum pay of 5,000 rand to 6,000 rand.
Employers have offered pay increases of as much as 9 percent, compared with South Africa’s inflation rate of 5.9 percent in February.
The country accounts for more than two-thirds of the world’s mined platinum, used for jewellry and catalytic converters in vehicles. - Bloomberg News