Platinum pay-strike talks set to resume

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AmcuHeadGear Reuters.

Johannesburg - Talks to end a strike over pay that has crippled production at the world’s largest platinum mines will resume in South Africa today.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration will meet negotiators for Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin, Nerine Kahn, a director at the mediator, said by phone today.

Talks between the three companies and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union were suspended on February 5 without reaching a settlement to end the strike.

The AMCU has called out more than 70,000 workers on a strike that has cost employers about $18 million a day since January 23, demanding that monthly wages for the lowest-paid underground workers be more than doubled to 12,500 rand.

South Africa accounts for about 70 percent of global output of the metal, used in jewellry and catalytic converters for vehicles.

Employers offered increases of as much as 9 percent for workers who are currently paid between 5,000 rand and 6,000 rand a month, excluding benefits.

South Africa’s annual rate of inflation was 5.4 percent in December.

The CCMA last week proposed that employers raise pay to 12,500 rand per month within three years, AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa told reporters in Johannesburg on February 8.

“We were amazed that the employers rejected the CCMA recommendation and stuck to their 9 percent,” Mathunjwa said.

“This made discussions on a possible settlement difficult and left AMCU with no option but to continue with strike action.”

Anglo American Platinum’s Union mine in the northern Limpopo province is calm after an AMCU official was shot there on February 7 in a clash between striking workers and police, police spokeswoman Ronel Otto said today by phone.

No incidents were reported during the weekend, she said.

An Anglo American Platinum employee was assaulted last week on his way to work at the company’s Khuseleka mine, the Johannesburg-based producer said in a statement on February 8. - Bloomberg News

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