The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has decided to continue with the wage strike in South Africa’s platinum sector which is entering its 15th week. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) and Lonmin were advised of this decision by Amcu leadership at a meeting with the union.
“Amcu’s decision is disappointing as the companies’ efforts to develop a new offer that is affordable and sustainable was designed to come as close as possible to meeting the union’s demand. The companies note that Amcu has also made no effort to suggest a solution to a strike which, as is well documented, is causing deep and adverse impacts on employees, their communities and the local Rustenburg economy as a whole,” the companies said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the companies have elected to continue their direct approaches to employees directly. Lonmin has set a provisional return to work date of 14 May 2014, and depending on the responses received. Implats continues to communicate with employees to gauge their response to the offer, and Amplats has made the offer available to its employees and has already seen a commencement in the uptake thereof.
None of the companies have set final acceptance dates; nor have they presented ultimatums to employees.
“Regrettably, the companies have received feedback from a large number of employees that while they would prefer to accept the offer and return to work, many are fearful of doing so due to the threats to their personal safety. The respective company security teams have documented dozens of incidents of threats of personal harm by faceless individuals, or by strike leaders from AMCU meeting platforms, aimed at groups or individuals who are at work, or who might be contemplating a return to work. There have been numerous assaults perpetrated on employees at work or on their way to or from work. While criminal cases have been opened, unfortunately there have been only a limited number of arrests,” the statement said.
To date, the strike has cost employees some R7.3 billion in lost income and the producers around R16.4 billion in lost revenue.
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