Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

22 April 2014

South Africa: Platinum Strikes - Discussions to Determine Platinum Belt, AMCU's Future

analysis

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) strike in the platinum belt has now been going for three months. The union was locked in discussions with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin late on Tuesday night. These discussions will determine whether employees go back to work or the longest strike in the democratic era rolls on. Either way, it's going to be costly.

The stakes are high. As of Tuesday, employees had lost R6.3 billion in earnings and companies over R14.2 billion worth of platinum, according to platinumwagenegotiations.co.za. Negotiations have been stalled since early March when AMCU revised its demands of an immediate R12,500 basic wage to the figure being met over four years. During the standoff, the union's been marching - to the Union Buildings, to the platinum companies - trying to pressure a revised increase.

On Tuesday night, Charmane Russell, speaking for the platinum producers, said discussions on the offer announced by the platinum producers last Thursday were still ongoing and talks would resume on Wednesday. Impala's Johan Theron has been quoted as saying, "AMCU is not happy with the offer; they did not accept it and wanted more." Union leaders...

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