Platinum sector wage talks continue

The wage strike in the platinum sector has now entered its third week.

Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa on the first day of the union's strike on the platinum belt on 23 January 2014. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is expected to receive feedback from employers in the platinum sector this morning after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) came up with a proposal to put an end to the ongoing wage strike in the industry.

The mass action is now in its third week with workers at Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin demanding a minimum salary of R12,500.

Miners are adamant that they won't settle for anything less despite employers saying this demand is unrealistic.

Companies have indicated less than five percent of workers have been reporting for duty over the past week and this is putting major strain on production levels and the industry as a whole.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa will meet mining bosses again this morning and is hoping there will be some headway in the talks.

He says a R12,500 minimum salary is affordable and wants employers to see it is achievable through the CCMA process.

"One should look at the mechanics of how to achieve this. Not one of these three companies can't achieve this. In fact they can achieve more than that."

Amid fears the prolonged mass action will further damage the economy, Mathunjwa says he believes the work stoppage can't damage the economy more than corruption.

He says this type of strike occurs once year while graft damages the economy on a daily basis.

Yesterday, Anglo American South Africa's executive director Khanyisile Kweyama said Amcu had to put the workers first.

"It would be very short-sighted of the new union to be just in disrupt mode all the time. People want to work. They want to earn a living and they want to be able to take something back home and they cannot do that while they are out of work all the time."

However, she said she was confident the mining industry would overcome its challenges.

"There's a holistic approach. There is law and order. The police minister is giving the guidance and ensuring that the police are deployed appropriately during strikes."