South Africa: Platinum Wage Offers Unveiled, With Some 'Light At the End of the Tunnel'

analysis

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Tuesday 13 August unveiled the wage offers from SA's platinum producers. There remains a big gap between the union's demands and company offers, but not the chasm that has existed in the past when Amcu pushed for wage hikes of up to 100%.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa was in a typically combative mood when he addressed the media in Sandton on Tuesday 13 August, railing about the "greed of the multinationals" and their "appetite for exploiting the black majority".

On the issue of wage negotiations in the platinum sector, Mathunjwa said it was "important for the public to understand that these mines cannot cry poverty. They make huge profits and pay themselves fat salaries and bonuses, while the poor workers must fight for the crumbs that fall from the table where they dine."

Years ago, a former platinum boss told this correspondent that Mathunjwa "could read an income statement" and he has certainly been taking a look at recent platinum financials. In a prepared statement, he noted Impala Platinum's (Implats) financial turnaround and the more than doubling of Anglo American Platinum's (Amplats) interim earnings to over R7-billion.

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