Picture: Timothy Bernard.

Johannesburg - The Amcu strike in the platinum mining sector should be abandoned for the good of all South Africans, trade union Solidarity said on Friday.

“Amcu has to abandon its ideological pie in the sky and act in the best interests of its members and all other South Africans,” general secretary Gideon du Plessis said in a statement.

“What started as a strike has now degenerated into a social crisis, which will result in large-scale retrenchment and unemployment of Amcu’s striking members, as well as of other innocent, non-striking workers.”

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members in the platinum sector downed tools at Anglo American Platinum, Lonmin, and Impala Platinum on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

They have so far rejected the companies' offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12,500 by July 2017.

The union is also pursuing its bid to strike for higher wages in the gold mining sector in the Labour Court in Johannesburg.

Du Plessis urged the union not to pursue the case.

“Amcu's court application... is also driven by ideology and should be abandoned as it is not in the best interests of its members or those of the rest of South Africa.”

The sustainability of South African mines had already been undermined. Some marginal shafts and mines would be closed or sold to less stable employers.

This could have knock-on effects for miners, contractors, and service providers, as well as businesses that relied, directly or indirectly, on the mines.

“As it is, Amcu has already deprived many of its members and other innocent victims of their jobs through its strike action, even if the strike were to end today.

“Large-scale retrenchments and dismissals resulting from strike-related offences will follow; capital expansion projects that would have resulted in the creation of new jobs will be cancelled; and permanent damage has already been done to shafts because of the long downtime,” Du Plessis said.

Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, his deputy Godfrey Oliphant, and Deputy Labour Minister Phathekile Holomisa this week met Amcu and chief executive of platinum mining companies separately in an attempt to resolve the strike. - Sapa