6 March 2014

South Africa: Platinum Strike - the Negotiation Table's Depressing Emptiness


Six weeks after the start of the Association Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) strike began at Impala Platinum (Implats), Lonmin and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) negotiations have made little progress. In fact, they've stopped. While AMCU has finally shown it's willing to play ball, there's no love lost between the union and the platinum producers.

Wednesday's press release from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), which has been mediating the wage negotiations, is telling. "Given that parties still remain far apart at this stage, the CCMA has decided to adjourn the process to give all parties an opportunity to reflect on their respective decisions," it noted. CCMA director Narine Kahn continued in the tone of a schoolteacher, "The mediation process can be expected to resume once parties have considered their positions and indicated a willingness to return to the negotiating table."

AMCU launched its strike at the three platinum companies on 23 January demanding a "living wage" of R12,500 per month for entry-level workers. There's been little love lost. While AMCU has until this week held strong in its demands, the mining houses say they can't afford the raises and are offering between 7.5% and...

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