15/11/2010 Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu during a media breakfast briefing held at Pretoria Gauteng. (169) Photo: Leon Nicholas

Pretoria - The two-month long wage strike in the platinum sector was not discussed at the mining sector consultative forum on Thursday, according to Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu.

“The strike was not discussed mainly because there are processes going at company level and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration,” she said.

“We urge parties to engage to find a solution for workers to go back to work. The strike is not only hitting the workers but also impacts on the economy.”

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in the platinum mines in Rustenburg, North West, and Northam in Limpopo downed tools on January 23 demanding a minimum salary of R12,500.

Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum, and Lonmin offered to increase salaries by nine percent.

The union rejected the offer and revised its demand to have the minimum wage phased in over four years.

The company rejected the revised demand, stating it amounted to a 30 percent increase year-on-year.

Amcu did not attend the meeting and forwarded an apology.

In its first quarter meeting, the forum said progress had been made in bringing peace and stability to the mines.

The forum involves government, mining companies and trade unions.

Shabangu said Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe would not be lost to the forum after the May 7 election.

“He will still have a role to play. I do not think he will be lost to the forum.”

Motlanthe retires from government after the election. - Sapa