As South African platinum companies engage in mediated talks with  the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to reach a wage agreement that would end the four-month long strike, the SA Communist Party (SACP) has expressed concern that any settlement reached would focus on remuneration, while issues of transformation would be sidelined.

Accusing strike-hit producers Lonmin, Impala Platinum (Implats) and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) of avoiding centralised bargaining and competing among themselves on payments of workers, general secretary Blade Nzimande told reporters that “All of this has resulted in chronic labour market instability. To add insult to injury, the senior management have been paying themselves huge and insensitive salaries and perks.”

Nzimande agreed that resolution is needed amongst the affected parties, but added that sidelining transformation would “leave the initiative for and direction of restructuring in the hands of the mining monopolies. The mining houses are looking to close many shafts and operations at the cost of labour in the more profitable operations.”

For this reason, the SACP is calling for a mining indaba to address how to take forward the resolution of ANC-mandated state intervention in the mining sector, as well as moving towards centralised bargaining for all mining sectors and changes to the grading system in mining.

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