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Lonmin denies wage agreement reports

A Lonmin spokesperson says wage talks between platinum firms and Amcu are ongoing.

FILE: Platinum Mineworkers report for work at a Lonmin shaft in Marikana on 15 May 2014. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The world's top three platinum producers have denied a settlement has been reached with striking miners.

Reports emerged that Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin had struck a deal with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Around 70,000 members of the union have been on strike for 17 weeks, demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

They have rejected an offer that would bring their cash remuneration to that amount by July 2017.

Lonmin spokesperson Happy Nkomo says no agreement has been reached.

"The reports that were issued yesterday aren't true. No agreement has been reached. Talks are however ongoing."

In an unprecedented move on Tuesday, Labour Court Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker urged the parties to return to the negotiating table after the union approached the court wanting Lonmin mine bosses to stop communicating directly with workers.

Amcu claimed the SMS messages were fuelling tensions between workers.

There's been scant information so far about the progress of the wage negotiations but mining analysts and international investors have been closely monitoring the negotiations in the hope that they will bring the crippling strike to an end.

In a move to show solidarity with striking miners, some Cape Town human rights groups picketed outside Parliament earlier today.

Leading the movement is the Workers International Vanguard League which claims millions of rands are being pocketed by mine owners who refuse to improve the livelihood of their employees.

The league's Shaheed Mohamed says they have proof of their claims.

"We have proof that Amplats and other mines have been stealing for the past 50 years. The government knows about it and are doing nothing."

CHURCHES CALL FOR RELIEF

Meanwhile, the South African Council of Churches has called for more humanitarian relief for striking miners and their families on the platinum belt.

The council joined several religious groups and non-profit organisations who have provided striking miners with food and sanitation parcels in recent weeks.

Soup kitchens are also being used to feed the workers who've been without income for more than four months.

The soup kitchen is run by locals in the township and provides two meals a day to the families of mineworkers.

Lonmin said many of its employees were struggling to survive, and while Amcu set up a trust fund to help their family members, community members in Marikana are doing what they can to supply food.

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