Amcu digs in on platinum strike

Johannesburg - South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) vowed on Thursday to continue a strike against the world's top three platinum producers, which its president described as a “fight for survival” by workers.

Amcu's intention to dig in for the long haul dashes any hope for the stoppage to end soon.

The strike, already a month old, has hit over 40 percent of global platinum production and dealt a blow to investor confidence in Africa's largest economy.

“We are prepared to see it through,” Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa told a news briefing.

Amcu members downed tools four weeks ago in a wage dispute at Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

Asked how long they would strike, Mathunjwa replied, “until we achieve a settlement that is accommodative of our 12,500 rand ($1,100) a month demand”.

Amcu's battle cry has been for a more than doubling of the basic entry wage to 12,500 rand a month, which companies have said they cannot afford.

The chief executives of the three companies drew their own line in the sand on Wednesday, saying their latest offer of pay hikes of up to 9 percent was final and pushed the boundaries of what they could bear given depressed prices and rising costs.

“This is not about time, it's about the cause,” said Mathunjwa, flanked by about 30 Amcu shop stewards clad in the union's trade-mark green shirts. - Reuters