SA platinum strike enters second day amid government mediated meeting

Posted by The Africa Report

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Striking Platinum Miners

Talks between a South African miners, government and platinum mining companies are underway in Johannesburg to end a crippling strike that entered its second day on Friday.

Close to 100 000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at some of the world’s biggest platinum mines, Impala, Lonmin and Anglo American went on strike this week demanding a salary increase. 

The militant union is demanding an entry level salary of 12 500 rand.

But mining companies argue the demands are too excessive and would cripple their operations.

The government fears the strike would further damage South Africa’s reputation as an attractive business and investment destination.

Lonmin said they were losing close to four and half million dollars a day due to the strike.

Implants told a local radio station that it was struggling financially. spokesman Johan Theron told the SABC:

“Business is struggling quite clearly. Most [platinum] mines in South Africa are not making any money,” Implats spokesman Johan Theron told the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

“If you look at Impala, our wage bill is R7 billion, so a 10-odd percent increase is an extra R700m which simply we don’t have.”

He said the company was trying to discuss with the unions involved in the platinum sector strike on how to help them improve profitability.

But AMCU said it was not prepared to compromise because its members work in dangerous environments and are paid a pittance.

Meanwhile, reports from police said violence has once again reared its ugly head.

“We have started to receive reports of roads barricading and other incidents that are in contravention of the law,” said the police’s Thulani Ngubane in a statement.

“This is happening despite the request by police as well as Amcu days prior and on the first day of the strike that all those who are on strike must respect the rule of law including the rights of those who are not on strike…”

Police said they are urging the union’s leadership to “take control of their members on the ground” so that the police can continue, “to do their work in providing safety to lives and properties.”