Police ready for platinum sector strike

The police say it's up to Amcu to ensure a peaceful strike and not to bring weapons to any meetings.

Barbed wire, police and dozens of private security officers at Lonmin's Rowland shaft in the North West province on 23 January 2014. Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - North West police have warned the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members on strike that no weapons will be allowed at mass meetings.

The strike follows months of unsuccessful negotiations as well as a last-ditch attempt by government to reach a settlement.

The union officially started its protected wage strike today at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum Mines.

The work stoppage has brought the majority of South Africa's underground platinum production to a halt.

But the police's Thulane Ngubane says they're well prepared.

"We're ready to play the monitoring role and we urge people not to bring dangerous weapons."

A series of mass meetings by Amcu members in Rustenburg is underway as the union begins a simultaneous strike at three mines for higher wages.


At the same time, platinum producers say it's concerning that Amcu is making promises to its members about higher wages which are unrealistic.

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

Amcu's Joseph Mathunjwa says their demand is reasonable.

"It's subject to tax and with the cost of living escalating as it is, I don't think it's unrealistic."

Mining lawyer Peter Leon says it's unlikely that mining companies will give in to this demand.

"The wage increases over the last three years have doubled the inflation rate and the industry is already suffering with subdued commodity prices."

Some disgruntled Amcu members have little faith that the union will be able to pull off this strike or secure higher wages.

The confirmed number of people on strike today will determine just how powerful Amcu is.