Johannesburg - South Africa's government mediator said it will meet with the striking Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Wednesday to restart talks aimed at ending a crippling platinum strike now entering its tenth week.
The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) also said in a statement it would meet separately with companies Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin this week.
But there are still no scheduled face-to-face talks between the two sides and the chief executive of Lonmin told staff to take voluntary leave, as there appears to end to the strike that has hit 40 percent of global platinum output.
“Unfortunately, the strike looks set to continue despite our best efforts to seek a solution with Amcu,” Ben Magara said in an internal staff memo dated March 25 seen by Reuters.
“We have to make tough decisions to preserve and protect the business by reducing costs and conserving cash,” Magara said in the memo.
“As a first step, we will approach employees to voluntarily take any leave owing to them.”
Talks collapsed three weeks ago with the two sides poles apart on the issue of wages.
Amcu earlier in March softened its stance for the first time, saying it wanted staggered increases to bring the basic entry wage to 12,500 rand a month in three years' time, instead of immediately.
That would be more than double current amounts.
The companies are offering increases of up to 9 percent, setting the stage for a protracted and grinding showdown between capital and labour on the restive platinum belt northwest of Johannesburg. - Reuters