The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has adjusted its wage demand after labour court-facilitated talks with South Africa’s major platinum producers, a union negotiator said on Thursday.

At the mediated talks, Amcu has now proposed a R1 350 increase in the basic salary and an 8.5% increase for category C workers, according to Amcu negotiator Brian Ashley, who added that Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker, who is mediating the negotiations, has told the platinum bosses to put a “new and improved” offer on the table.

The four-month strike at Lonmin , Impala Platinum (Implats), and Anglo Platinum (Amplats) has been ongoing since January 23, when workers downed tools and demanded a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

The mines’ latest offer would see workers earn a minimum cash remuneration – comprising basic wages and holiday, living-out and other allowances – of R12 500 a month by 2017. Ashley, however, has said this increase is on all cash remuneration over five years, not on the basic salary, amounting to a mere R800 increase.

“What Amcu… have said now is they are happy to get R12 500 phased in over four years on basic. This amounts to a R1 800 increase for each year. There is a gap between employers and the union of R1 000. The only compromise employers had made was in respect of an increase being phased in over four years,” he said.

Ashley told the Cape Town Press Club that any reports of Amcu being unwilling to budge on its demands are “completely false. We have been putting forward several different proposals as tests to where we can go [to see] how we can find each other.

“Unions are being forced to accept a deal worse than minority unions were provided without ever going on strike. That is crazy. Employers do not want to see Amcu achieving such a victory, which it would be in the context of wage negotiations in SA.”

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