The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has adjourned its facilitated talks between AMCU and the platinum producers Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) and Lonmin, and negotiations have been indefinitely postponed.

Workers downed tools on 23 January demanding a minimum pay of R12 500 a month. The mining companies have offered staggered increases of seven to nine percent over the next three years. Amcu subsequently revised its demand, saying that the R12 500 minimum monthly salary could now be achieved over three years, its first concession since the strike began. Nevertheless, platinum bosses have rejected Amcu’s revised demand.

“We remain far apart. The revised demand by AMCU of an average basic wage increase of between 25% to 35% year-on-year over a four-year period remains unaffordable. We urge AMCU to take this opportunity to reflect on, and inform its constituents of, our current offer,” say CEOs Chris Griffith, Terence Goodlace and Ben Magara.

Already in its seventh week, the strike has had a crippling effect on the platinum industry, with Amplats reporting a loss of approximately 4 000 oz of production, translating into R100 million of revenue value per day for the company and over R7.2 billion for the sector overall. Employees’ loss in earnings is now estimated at over R3.2 billion.

On Thursday afternoon, hundreds of Amcu members arrived at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over a petition regarding their unhappiness about how government departments and platinum mining companies have handled their strike. Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has accused government of using state resources have been used to destabilise the union.

“The police have been used to harass Amcu members through unlawful arrests on questionable charges,” he said, referring to an incident on Tuesday where police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to control a large group of striking miners carrying traditional weapons, allegedly wanting to remove non-striking miners from Anglo American Platinum’s Khuseleka 1 shaft in the North West.

By Vicky Sidler, Editor,

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