Strike in platinum sector begins

100,000 platinum mineworkers affiliated to Amcu, will not report for their duties from today.

100,000 platinum mineworkers affiliated to Amcu, will not report for their duties from today. Picture: Gia Nocolaides/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - North West police are out in their numbers on the platinum belt this morning as a wage strike by 100,000 workers affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's (Amcu) gets underway.

The workers are expected to fill picketing sites at all three mines - Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

The police's Thulane Ngubane says it's up to Amcu to ensure a peaceful strike.

"The onus is on them to make sure that through their marshals they have a safe strike because anything that goes wrong the organisers will be held liable."

The union is demanding a R12,500 minimum salary for its workers.

Despite last-ditch talks to stave off the strike action the union says it has not yet reached a settlement with mining houses.

This could be one the biggest labour related strikes in recent months with Amcu expected to bring the already fragile platinum industry to halt.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe announced this week that government would facilitate with negotiations to try and bring about a resolution as quickly as possible.

But for now, miners from Anglo American Platinum, Impala and Lonmin are expected not to report for their shifts today.

Mining lawyer Peter Leon says the impact will be determined by the duration of the strike.

"The fact that the government has intervened in the matter is obviously positive, but the question is how long it takes."

Furthermore, there are tensions within the union with some members saying Amcu won't be able to pull off the strike.

Meanwhile, a planned strike in the gold sector was on Wednesday postponed pending a Labour Court ruling.

But the Labour Court ruling will not affect the platinum sector.