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Fears of job cuts in platinum sector

Negotiations between mining houses and Amcu resumed yesterday.

The strike by members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union in the platinum sector is in its third month. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - There are warnings that the three-month strike in the platinum sector could result in massive job cuts.

Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin are offering workers a R12,500 per month salary by mid-2017.

Negotiations between the mining houses and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) resumed yesterday and are expected to continue today.

Mining analyst Peter Major says he doesn't see a settlement being reached anytime soon.

"They [platinum producers] have budged but they are offering more than they could ever have justified to start out with so they budged a bit more, really trying to bridge the gap and get people back to work but I don't think it's going to bend the union here."

Major says Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa is trying to save face.

"It's way passed what Mr Mathunjwa has told his men he can get and that is why he is reluctant to accept this. I think he is starting to realise this is all they can ever be offered but he needs to save face here and I don't know how he is going to do it. I think this thing is going to run at least until the elections."

The three-month long strike has already cost the companies over R13 billion while employees have lost R6 billion in wages.

The union has established a fund to help workers who haven't been paid for more than three months.

Major says he's surprised by the length of the strike and believes Amcu is asking for too much.

"These people really don't have a clue what they're bargaining against. They just don't accept the reality out there and they're asking for something that's impossible to give."

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