100,000 platinum mineworkers affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) will not report for their duties from today at Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

The union is demanding a R12,500 minimum salary for its workers, which platinum CEOs have insisted is unrealistic and unaffordable. Furthermore, they have emphasised emphatically that a strike would not benefit the workers. No settlement could be reached between the union and platinum mining houses, despite eleventh-hour talks.

Peter Leon, a mining lawyer, has said the duration of the strike will determine its impact on the ‘fragile’ platinum industry, which could be expected to come to a grinding halt. He positively regards the announcement by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe that government would intervene, facilitating negotiations and attempting to speedily resolve the matter.

Meanwhile, another strike planned by Amcu in the gold sector has been postponed pending a Labour Court ruling, but the outcome will not affect the platinum sector.