10 March 2014

South Africa: AMCU's Mathunjwa - Last Six Weeks of Platinum Strike Was Like a Warm-Up

As South Africa's platinum strike drags on for almost three months, miners and their family are battling to survive without pay. ( Resource: Hunger, Anxiety as South African Mining Strike Wears on )


The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's (AMCU) strike at Impala Platinum (Implats), Lonmin and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) is in its seventh week. GREG NICOLSON & THAPELO LEKGOWA speak to AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa and workers to understand what's going on and see what's dividing the parties and stopping them from reaching a wage deal.

Mathunjwa arrived at last Thursday's march, his hands clasped behind his back, with someone holding an umbrella to protect him from the sun/rain (in Gauteng, who knows these days?). He stepped onto the road, between the Union Buildings and his AMCU comrades, before his colleagues joined him on the slow walk through Pretoria. With each step the 12,000 members took, the amount of pay and revenue lost continued to rise.

In its seventh week, AMCU's strike in in the platinum industry has cost workers almost R3 billion in wages and companies around R7.8 billion in revenues, according to the official website of the wage negotiations.

Mathunjwa walked calmly at front of Thursday's march, addressing workers once or twice to keep police happy that the workers would stay together as a group. There were water canons, nyalas and riot police, and at least one cop...

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