Platinum wage talks postponed

Amcu has postponed wage talks to attend the funeral of one of its members.

Around 80,000 Amcu members have been on strike for almost a month. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Talks between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to end a month-long strike in the platinum sector have been postponed today as the union prepares to bury one of its members who was killed during a strike in Limpopo.

Shadow Ncedani was shot dead near Anglo American Platinum's Swartklip mine last week allegedly by a policeman with an R5 rifle.

He is due to be buried in the Eastern Cape this weekend.

The parties were due to resume talks today but Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa says the union won't attend the session as it's still in a mourning period.

"The state killed our shop steward with an R5 rifle so we can't be in a jovial mood as we are mourning the death of our comrade."

Joint talks with Amplats, Lonmin and Impala Platinum stalled at the beginning of the month after Amcu rejected an 8 percent wage hike increase.

About 80,000 Amcu members have been on strike for almost a month now, which has nearly halted South Africa's platinum production.

The union is demanding a basic wage of R12,500 for all its members.

Meanwhile, there are fears measures to prevent large-scale job losses will be undone by the mass action.

The strike is taking place during a restructuring at Amplats in which 3,000 people will lose their jobs.

It was originally estimated that 14,000 people would be laid off, but after government and union intervention, most of the jobs will be saved.

Minority union United Association of South Africa says the latest strike could mean more jobs will be lost.

"With the strike those mines aren't profitable at all. Even if Amcu workers go back to work tomorrow, those places will not cut down because they have made a loss already."