'Thousands of job losses from platinum strike'

A mining analyst says the platinum sector strike will be disastrous for jobs and economic growth.

Around 80,000 Amcu members have been on strike since January demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The ongoing strike in the platinum sector may result in thousands of job losses this year as Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) struggles to turn a profit.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has been on strike for more than two months at Amplats, Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin resulting in losses of more than R10 billion.

Around 80,000 Amcu members have been on strike since January demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: EWN.

Last week, Amplats CEO Chris Griffith said the mines in Rustenburg had no chance of being profitable in the next two years and shutting down some shafts had become a real option.

Mining analyst Peter Major says this will have a disastrous effect on jobs and economic growth.

"There's a real sense of urgency. He [Chris Griffith] is going to have to close enough shafts to save the body and in the end, he will probably have one open pit mine that will have hardly any employees. But at least he will save the body, pay some taxes, government will be happy and the five percent of Amcu workers who will get a job there will also be happy."

Meanwhile, Amcu members have given Impala Platinum bosses until 5 April to respond to their wage demands.

Hundreds of union members marched to the company's headquarters in Illovo last week to hand over a memorandum of demands.

Hundreds of Amcu members march towards Impala Platinum's headquarters. Picture: EWN.