6 May 2014

South Africa: Amcu Strike to Continue - Mining Companies

Johannesburg — Trade union Amcu will continue its marathon strike in the platinum mining sector, the mining companies said on Tuesday.

"The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has informed the companies of the union's decision to continue with the strike which is entering its 15th week," Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum said in a joint statement.

The companies were advised of the decision to continue the strike by Amcu's leadership during a meeting on Monday afternoon.

"Amcu's decision is disappointing as the companies' efforts to develop a new offer that is affordable and sustainable was designed to come as close as possible to meeting the union's demand," the companies said.

"The companies note that Amcu has also made no effort to suggest a solution to a strike which, as is well documented, is causing deep and adverse impacts on employees, their communities, and the local Rustenburg economy as a whole."

The strike, now in its 103rd day, has cost employees around R7.3 billion in lost income and the producers around R16.4bn in lost revenue.

The companies said they would continue taking the offer directly to employees, as Lonmin had requested employees to indicate their intention to accept the settlement offer by SMS by Thursday.

They said a provisional return to work date by next Wednesday had been planned and would be dependent on the responses received.

Implats would continue to communicate with employees to gauge their response to the offer, and will advise progress in due course, while Amplats had made the offer available to its employees and had already seen a commencement in the uptake thereof.

"None of the companies have set final acceptance dates, nor have they presented ultimatums to employees."

The companies said the feedback received from several employees showed that while they would prefer to accept the offer and return to work, many were fearful of doing so due to threats to their personal safety.

"There have been numerous assaults perpetrated on employees at work or on their way to or from work."

The companies said while criminal cases had been opened regarding these incidents, only a limited number of arrests had been made.

"The companies call on the Amcu leadership to take responsibility for discouraging, threatening, or other criminal behaviour directed either against their own members or against management staff seeking to persuade their members to return to work."

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