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Amcu marches to Impala's HQ

Some 80,000 workers affiliated to the union have been on a wage strike since January.

Some 80,000 workers affiliated to Amcu have been on a wage strike since January. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Hundreds of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members have marched through the streets of northern Johannesburg on Thursday to hand over a memorandum to Impala Platinum (Implats).

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa told hundreds of protesters outside the Impala Platinum headquarters in Illovo that mining bosses were making major profits, but still not paying their workers a living wage.

Some 80,000 workers affiliated to the union have been on a wage strike since January, demanding a basic salary of R12,500.

This is a struggle they've been fighting for since 2012 when violence erupted in Marikana.

Mining bosses said the R12,500 demand was not feasible, but Mathunjwa says the profit margins indicate otherwise.

The crippling wage dispute has affected operations at Implats, Lonmin and Amplats.

Police escorted the protesters to Impala Platinum's headquarters in Illovo as metro police officers diverting traffic in the area.

Demonstrators were wearing green Amcu T-shirts.

Amcu members gathered at a park in Dunkeld before taking to the streets.

Shop stewards told protesters that Amcu members continue to be killed at the mines due to union rivalry.

Protest leaders also accused government of failing to intervene in the matter.

The union say capitalists continue to benefit from their labour, while miners cannot look after their families.

This is one of the longest strikes in the volatile platinum sector.

OVER R10BN LOST

South Africa's three biggest platinum producers say over R10 billion has been lost since the start of Amcu's strike and around R4,5 billion has been lost by workers in earnings.

The companies have rejected the salary demand, saying it equates to a 30 percent increase that would lead to widespread job losses across the platinum belt.

Chris Hart, chief economist at Investment Solutions, said the R10 billion estimate is conservative and the true cost of the strike could be much higher.

All pictures in this story are courtesy of EWN.

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