World
South Africa platinum wage talks to resume
Publish Date: Feb 04, 2014
South Africa platinum wage talks to resume
Striking miners chant slogans as they march to Wonderkop Stadium near Lonmins platinum mine in Marikana. PHOTO/AFP
  • mail
  • img
newvision

JOHANNESBURG - Government-brokered talks to end a South African platinum mine strike, now in its second week, will restart Tuesday, as firms report losses totalling as much as $36 million a day.

Around 80,000 members of the radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools on January 23 calling for a minium monthly wage of 12,500-rand ($1,100) -- almost double their current pay.

Last Thursday they rejected a three-year deal from Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin that offered a roughly seven percent annual increase.

"Discussions will resume today," an industry spokeswoman told AFP.

South Africa produces 80 percent of the world's platinum -- used in products from catalytic converters to computer hard disks to dental fillings -- and around 134,000 people are employed in the sector.

AMCU has threatened the strike could go on for a month if no agreement is reached.

Companies, which have seen their revenues plummet in recent years, are looking for a long-term agreement in the hope of preventing what have become regular stoppages.

But they insist drastic wage increases are impossible and claim that the current pay package is more than a basic entry-level wage.

"The wage increases demanded by AMCU are unaffordable by industry, will push more of industry into loss-making territory," said South African Chamber of Mines economist Roger Baxter.

The strikes are costing Africa's largest economy $36 million a day in lost production, he told a continental mining conference in Cape Town.

Mining labour costs have more than doubled in South Africa in the past two decades, Baxter added.

Current wage demands date back to violent mass wildcat strikes in 2012, which resulted in the police shooting dead 34 strikers on one day at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

But industrial action has become "more peaceful" since then, Baxter said, a statement echoed by Mining Minister Susan Shabangu.

"We have restored the rule of law, peace and stability in this industry," Shabangu told the conference.

"These developments debunk the myth that labour laws in South Africa lack flexibility and are only created to protect workers," she said.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck China's southwestern province of Sichuan on Saturday, with Chinese state media reporting one fatality....
Nigeria''s main opposition party warns against a plan to arrest parliamentary speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who quit the ruling party last month....
Moscow accuses West of seeking Russia
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday accused the West of seeking to force a regime change in Russia through sanctions over the Ukraine conflict....
Plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar: WHO
An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo....
Ousted Burkina president arrives in Morocco from Ivory Coast
Burkina Faso''s deposed president Blaise Compaore arrived in Morocco from Ivory Coast, where he has been in exile since his ouster in a popular revolt last month, the Moroccan foreign ministry announced early Friday....
Pop stars climb stairway to heaven early: Australian study
It's long been said that pop stars live fast and die young, but a new Australian study has added scholarly credibility to the adage, finding that US musicians die up to 25 years earlier than the general population....
Should workers be subjected to a 4% Health Insurance Tax??
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter