Platinum wage talks deadlocked

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iol news pic Amcu platinum strike

REUTERS

Lonmin chief executive Ben Magara. File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - Talks to end the three-month wage strike by Amcu in the platinum sector have deadlocked, the producers said on Thursday.

Anglo American Platinum Limited, Impala Platinum Holdings Limited and Lonmin advised that no resolution had been achieved, said Charmaine Russel, spokeswoman for the producers.

“The producers urged Amcu's leadership to consider the economic position of the industry and the companies, and the dire circumstances of employees, and to recommend the settlement offer made by the producers to their members.”

She said the settlement offer was made in the interest of bringing an end to strike that had crippled the platinum sector and brought untold hardship to employees, their families, communities and the companies.

CEOs Chris Griffith of Anglo American Platinum, Terence Goodlace (Impala) and Ben Magara of Lonmin said: “We strongly urge the Amcu leadership to take this fair settlement offer to their members and to let them decide.

“The producers have a duty to provide the details of the settlement offer to our employees and will do so forthwith.”

The companies tabled a settlement offer last week, that would see the minimum cash remuneration (comprising basic wages and holiday, living-out and other allowances) for entry level underground employees rising to R12,500 per month or R150,000 per annum by July 2017.

For Lonmin employees this reflects an increase in cash remuneration for the highest-paid employees of 7.5 percent and an increase for the lowest earners of 9.5 percent.

For Amplats and Implats employees, this is an increase in cash remuneration of 7.5 percent for the highest-paid employees and an increase of 10 percent for the lowest earners.

Allowances (such as the living out allowance) would rise in line with inflation. Allowances that were determined by an existing formula (such as the holiday leave allowance), would continue to apply.

The companies said by implementing these increases over the period, the cost to company for the lowest paid underground employees would be in excess of R17 500 per month or R210 000 per annum by July 2017.

In addition to cash remuneration, the cost to company includes medical, pension, overtime and bonuses.

The offer includes the payment of back-pay related to the annual increase.

This would take effect from July 1, 2013 for Amplats and Implats employees, and from October 1, 2013, for Lonmin employees.

Amcu members downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic salary of R12 500 per month.

The union rejected the companies' offer of nine percent, and revised its demand to be phased in over four years. The companies rejected the revised demand saying it amounted to 30 percent year-on-year increase.

The strike has cost employees some R6.4 billion in lost income and the producers around R14.5 billion in lost revenue.

Impala spokesman Johan Theron said no talks were scheduled in the near future.

Amcu was not available for comment as the cellphone of chief negotiator Jimmy Gama went unanswered.

Sapa


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