Platinum strike takes toll on mining families

The families of platinum miners are feeling the pinch as Amcu workers battle to send money back home.

Police presence has been increased at the Anglo Platinum Rustenburg mines as miners prepare to go on strike. Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As a wage strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) stretches into its fifth week, the families of thousands of workers in the Eastern Cape are appealing to the platinum companies to reach a settlement.

The mining union is demanding a basic salary of R12,500 for entry level workers.

But the company has only offered between 7 and 9.5 percent.

Last week the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) met with executives at Lonmin Platinum in a bid to fast-track the settlement.

Contralesa President Setlamorago Thobejane says the strike has a devastating knock-on effect.

"When they're doing well, all of us are surviving here. But once there's a strike, there's no income into these homes and none of us have money. When next door doesn't have breakfast, the children will go to the next family."

Talks to end the strike resumed at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration on Wednesday.

Mine bosses pleaded with Amcu's leaders to end the work stoppage, saying employees stand to lose the most.