Implats workers order second wage hike

The world’s no.2 platinum producer says workers are now requesting a second pay hike.

Impala Platinum Mine. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG - Impala Platinum, the world's No.2 platinum producer, on Tuesday said workers had demanded a second pay hike this year, to effectively double their wages in six months - the latest sign of labour unrest in the sector.

The demand comes as South African miners grapple with a wave of strikes that last month led to the death of 44 people, 34 at the hands of the police.

The unrest has also spread to gold producers, with Gold Fields reporting that 15,000 miners had embarked on a wildcat strike at its KDC operations.

Implats granted workers an increase after a strike shut down production at its key Rustenburg operations in January and February this year, but the platinum producer said workers now want more.

"We believe that current tensions are an issue for the entire industry," said Implats chief executive Terence Goodlace in a statement.

He said that profit margins were under severe pressure "with consequences for all concerned".

South Africa's platinum industry has been struggling to survive as input costs such as electricity have spiked and metals prices fall.