No strike winner - Goldman Sachs

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IOL pic jun13 mine strike Reuters Striking miners chant slogans as they march in the Nkaneng township, outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg, on May 13, 2014. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - Neither South Africa’s dominant platinum union nor the top three producers it targeted in an almost five-month pay strike would emerge as winner from the stand-off, according to Goldman Sachs Group.

The companies would be left with damage to some mines and delays while they got their workforce back up to speed, while the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) would fall short of delivering on members’ demands, the investment bank said in note to clients on Friday.

Union members late last week accepted a pay proposal “in principle” from Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin. Amcu said it had conditions to put to the companies before agreeing to a deal.

“We are not expecting any developments until the long weekend is over,” Alan Fine, a spokesman representing the producers, said yesterday.

Amcu treasurer Jimmy Gama did not answer a call or respond to a text message seeking comment.

The union’s members have been on strike since January 23 in support of their demand to more than double basic monthly pay to R12 500. The producers’ latest offer includes increases of as much as R1 000.

Amcu members had raised conditions on issues including the length of the agreement, back pay, increases in living-out allowances and the reinstatement of jobs, president Joseph Mathunjwa said at rallies last week.

Eugene King, a Goldman Sachs analyst, wrote in the note: “We believe the deal is only slightly improved for workers compared to the offer which was proposed within a month of the strike” and was accepted by the union because of pressure from members.

“Mines will be damaged as panels will have collapsed. Organising and retraining workers will take time.”

The three companies said they had lost R22.8 billion in revenue in the longest and costliest strike in South Africa.

Lonmin was likely to rebound strongly after the strike “as inventory can be converted to cash quickly and the mining restart will see concentrate coming through” in the next two months, King wrote.

Implats would be confronted by delays to new shafts following the strike, he added. - Bloomberg

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