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
Two dead in US school shooting after online warnings
A US student who had issued chilling warnings on Twitter opened fire in a school cafeteria on Friday, killing at least one person and critically injuring three before taking his own life....
European stocks on Ebola, eurozone concerns
Europe's main stock markets pulled back Friday on concerns over New York's first Ebola case and the outlook for the eurozone....
Mexico governor steps down over student disappearances
The governor of the Mexican state where 43 students vanished a month ago following a confrontation with police allegedly linked to a major drug cartel has bowed to pressure to stand down....
A doctor who recently returned to New York from treating Ebola patients in Guinea tested positive on Thursday for the deadly virus, the first confirmed case in the city, officials said....
Missing Mexico journalist found shot dead
THE editor of an investigative magazine in violence-wracked northwestern Mexico who disappeared two weeks ago was found dead with gunshot wounds...
Bashir calls opponents for talks
SUDAN'S President Omar al-Bashir has urged opponents to join him in 'national dialogue' talks, days after it was announced he would be seeking re-election...
Should diplomatic passports issued to ex-govt workers be with drawn?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter