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S.African platinum firms to meet mediators Tuesday: union

Top global platinum producers will on Tuesday meet alone with independent mediators to discuss a two-week wage strike, according to the union whose 80,000 workers have downed tools.

Earlier talks led by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) adjourned last week after the firms said they had reached “no settlement” with negotiators of the radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

“CCMA will be meeting the employers on Tuesday alone,” AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told AFP on Sunday in a text message.

Spokespeople for affected miners Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin could not immediately be reached for confirmation.

Majority union AMCU’s members laid down their tools on January 23 demanding a basic wage of 12,500 rand ($1,125) — more than double the current entry-level salary.

The mine companies have offered a seven-percent raise, saying they can’t afford more and accusing the union of failing to compromise.

The 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.

Producers say the current stoppages have cost the South African economy $360 million.

The country accounts for 80 percent of global platinum production.