70,000 platinum workers stay on strike

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BR Amcu_04591234 Supplied. Striking Anglo American Platinum workers. Photo Supplied.

Johannesburg - Talks aimed at resolving an Amcu strike in the platinum sector will resume on Monday, the labour department said.

Spokesman Musa Zondi said: “(The parties) agreed to continue talking from Monday, for three days. Hopefully they will come to some kind of agreement.”

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration would then facilitate talks between employers Impala Platinum, Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Zondi said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, who were present at the start of the talks on Friday, would not attend on Monday.

The strike by the union at Impala, Lonmin and Anglo American Platinum entered its second day on Friday.

Amcu wants an entry-level monthly salary of R12,500.

Zondi said that at the CCMA talks on Friday an agenda for the way forward was reached by “shared agreement”.

Asked to elaborate, he said: “R12,500, that's the first issue, obviously”.

Security was tight at the CCMA offices and the media were kept in a holding room from 9am.

Shortly before 11.30am, there was a photo opportunity as all parties sat down for the first time.

No questions were allowed and no briefing was given in the few moments that the media were allowed into the negotiation room.

Reporters in a holding room were later informed that Amcu officials were meeting to decide whether they would talk to the employers as well as the ministers.

The outcome of these talks was not given to the media.

Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith, Implats chief executive Terence Goodlace and Lonmin chief executive Ben Magara recently said a prolonged strike would probably further damage South Africa's reputation as an attractive business and investment destination.

In a statement on Friday afternoon, Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said only about 10 percent of employees turned up for work at affected mines.

Processing operations and the Mogalakwena mine were unaffected by the strike.

“The company confirms that, as a result of the industrial action, total lost platinum production amounts to approximately 4000 ounces per day at the affected operations, resulting in R100 million of lost revenue per day at current market prices.”

Sithole described the situation at Amplats mines affected by the strike as “calm with sporadic disregard for the picketing rules by striking employees”.

On Thursday, the exchange rate was R11 to the US dollar, its weakest in over five years. - Sapa



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