Association of mineworkers and construction union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse.

Johannesburg - More than a 1000 Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members were defaulting on their anti-retroviral treatment, according to a letter mining company Lonmin sent to the union.

In a written response dated April 9, to Amcu's petition, chief executive Ben Magwara said the company was helping its workers with housing, healthcare and HIV/Aids support.

“I would however like to bring to your attention that over 1000 Amcu members who are on strike have failed to report to our clinics to receive ARV treatment. We are concerned that they are risking their health and lives by interrupting their treatment and would like you to encourage them to continue treatment,” said Magwara.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) operation in Rustenburg, North west and Northam in Limpopo went on a strike on January 23 demanding a minimum monthly salary of R12,500.

They have rejected the nine percent salary increase the companies have tabled.

The companies also rejected the unions' revised demand that the R12,500 should be phased in over a period of four years.

Magwara said most of the issues raised in the petition were of a socio-political and socio-economic nature, and were not attainable as part of the wage negotiation process.

“We have therefore confined our response to those issues that are within our control.”

He said the company has presented an affordable wage adjustment proposal, which the union has not accepted.

“Our inflation-beating and affordable proposal adjustments ranging from 7.5 percent to nine percent for all our entry level jobs is higher than most settlements elsewhere in the industry.”

“While we appreciate the movement by Amcu at the last CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) plenary meeting, the revised demand for a R12,500 over four years remains unaffordable and cannot be met by the company.”

Magwara said mineworkers in the platinum sector were the highest paid in the country relevant to the nature of work.

Amcu could not immediately be reached to comment. - Sapa