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'Platinum mine bosses repackaging same offer'

A negotiator for Amcu says talks have deadlocked because mine bosses keep repackaging the same offer.

FILE: Around 70,000 mineworkers have been on strike on the platinum belt since January, demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A negotiator for the Association of Mineworkers and Contraction Union (Amcu) says the newly established intergovernmental task team could be a glimmer of hope in the costly platinum strike.

Around 70,000 mineworkers at three of the world's largest platinum producers have been on strike since the beginning of the year demanding an entry level wage of R12,500 per month.

The Amcu negotiator addressed the Cape Town Press Club earlier on Thursday about the ongoing dispute.

Brian Ashley, a negotiator for Amcu, has accused mining companies of backtracking during wage talks.

He says it seems like employers essentially want to starve Amcu members back to work.

"We aren't getting a new offer, we are getting a repackaging of the same offer that has been rejected and therefore we are in this kind of stalemate at the moment."

But Ashley says the establishment of an intergovernmental technical team by newly appointed Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi offers a glimmer of hope.

"We have no details of this task team yet, but it means that government is now very concerned that the strike is going on."

The protracted strike has been largely blamed for a slowdown in economic growth during the first quarter of this year.

At the same time, the minister's spokesperson Mahlodi Muofhe, says Ramatlhodi strongly condemns the violence which has marred the industrial action in recent weeks.

AMCU LASHES OUT AT NUM

Amcu has denied its members were involved in the latest attack on non-striking miners after the homes of two workers affiliated to a rival union were petrol bombed.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has accused Amcu of targeting its members for refusing participate in its wage strike on the platinum belt.

The claim follows two petrol bomb attacks on homes belonging to NUM members in the Sefikile village on Tuesday night.

Amcu President Joseph Mathujwa has lashed out at the NUM for blaming his members for all violence on the platinum belt.

"The NUM is blaming anything on Amcu, so what is it that you can take from them"

But the NUM's Frans Baleni says workers need to protect themselves because police are simply not doing enough to protect non-striking miners.

"Its ones constitutional right to ensure you are not harmed. Defending yourself is defending yourself."

Earlier on Wednesday, the NUM released a statement which called on members to defend themselves, their families and their properties as police are doing too little to protect them.

Baleni reiterated the call, saying members simply have to look out for themselves now.

"Enough is enough. Nobody must take away our members' lives. They must decide how to defend themselves, depending on what danger is confronting them."

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