Platinum strike losses reach R20bn

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AmcuHands Independent Newspapers There was no confirmation from the mining sector regarding a report that Amcu had accepted the wage deal in the platinum sector. File photo: Matthews Baloyi.

Johannesburg - Talks to end the protracted wage strike in the platinum sector continued behind closed doors at an undisclosed location in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

By early afternoon, there was no indication of how the talks were proceeding.

“There is no final offer as yet, parties are still talking,” Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union chief negotiator Jimmy Gama said in an sms in the morning.

The Amcu was meeting platinum mining companies in a bid to resolve the wage dispute, now in its third month.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala (Implats) and Lonmin have tabled a wage increase offer of between 7.5 percent and 10 percent.

The proposed offer would see the minimum cash remuneration for entry-level underground workers rise to R12,500 a month or R150,000 per annum by July 2017.

In terms of the proposal, the cost-to-company for the lowest-paid underground worker would be in excess of R17,500 a month or R210,000 a year by July 2017.

Amcu members at Amplats, Impala, and Lonmin mining operations in Rustenburg in North West and Northam in Limpopo downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

The union rejected a wage increase of nine percent.

The companies in turn rejected Amcu's revised demand that the R12,500 could be phased in over four years.

The strike has cost the companies over R14 billion in revenue and workers have lost over R6bn in earnings.

The R12,500 demand stems from a violent wildcat strike in Marikana near Rustenburg in August 2012, where Lonmin workers demanded R12,500 as a basic monthly salary.

Forty-four people were killed during the strike.

Thirty four mineworkers were killed on August 16, 2012, when police fired on them while allegedly trying to disarm and disperse them.

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed during the preceding week.

President Jacob Zuma appointed retired judge Ian Farlam to chair a commission probing the 44 deaths.

The commission is expected to conclude its work by April 30. - Sapa

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