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Striking S.Africa union agrees to government mediated talks

The South African hardline union behind a mass strike Thursday at the world’s top three platinum mines said it has agreed to government mediation to end the crippling work stoppage.

Joseph Mathunjwa, head of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), said the union “will be part of the negotiations” that are tentatively set for Friday.

“It’s a mediation meeting between the unions and the mine owners,” Labour Ministry spokesman Musa Zondi told AFP.

The mining bosses have long been ready for any talks that could end the unrest in the key mining sector.

But the AMCU had previously said it wanted clearance from its members to be part of the talks, which it secured at a rally in Marikana at the start of the strike on Thursday.

Up to 80,000 platinum mine workers downed tools on Thursday demanding that entry-level wages be more than doubled to $1,150 per month.

Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum said his company has accepted the offer for “a government facilitated mediation process in order to find a resolution.”

Lonmin’s CEO Ben Magara concurred on the need “to finding a positive and sustainable resolution to this dispute.”

The strike kicked off Thursday morning at the operations of the world’s top three platinum producers Anglo-American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin in South Africa’s platinum belt, northwest of Johannesburg.