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Talks to end South Africa platinum strike due to resume

Published on 26/03/2014

South African mediators said talks between platinum producers and leaders of the striking union will resume Wednesday in a bid to end a two-month long industry-wide strike.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) said it would hold separate meetings with the union and platinum firms: Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

CCMA director Nerine Kahn said the meeting was “an important step towards finding a mediated solution to the current industrial action that is impacting on both employers and employees alike.”

Talks to end the crippling strike have been on and off since it started here when thousands of workers affiliated with the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools on January 23.

Workers are demanding a minimum wage of $1,125 (820 euros) a month, which the companies have rejected as unaffordable.

The wage demand was at the centre of the 2012 deadly strike at Lonmin, when police killed 34 mineworkers on August 16, 2012.

Two weeks ago, the union revised its offer to allow the increase to be spread over four years, after stating that its members were prepared to do whatever its takes to achieve their demand.

On Tuesday, the three companies said the prolonged strike was causing “irreparable” damage to the sector, with nearly a billion dollars lost in revenue since stoppages began.

The platinum industry has been hit by intermitted strikes over wages since 2011, in a country that holds around 80 percent of the world’s known platinum reserves.