Amcu considers its options
The union says it's considering all options suggested during wage negotiations.
JOHANNESBURG - As the platinum sector strike nears its fifth month, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) says it's considering all options that have been suggested during wage negotiations.
Amcu and platinum producers have been locked in talks mediated by a Labour Court judge for over a week now in an attempt to end the strike which has had a major impact on the country's economy.
Around 70,000 mineworkers at three of the world's largest platinum producers have been on strike since the beginning of the year.
The protracted strike has been largely blamed for a slowdown in economic growth during the first quarter of this year.
Several deaths and claims of intimidation have tainted the strike in recent weeks.
An inter-ministerial task team has also been set up by newly appointed Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramathlodi who says his first priority is to resolve the dispute.
One of the union's negotiators has denied that Amcu won't budge on its R12,500 per month wage demand.
He says talks have been underway to phase in this amount over four years.
Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa has been unavailable to talk about the progress of the negotiations and platinum producers have also remained mum.
South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Officer Neren Rau says he believes it's a good move that government has stepped in.
"Government could no longer stand on the sidelines and hope for the two parties to come to a solution.I think the minister had no choice."
Meanwhile, several organisations have continued to send food parcels and clothes to Marikana where families have been suffering due to the strike which started at the end of January.
ALLEGATIONS OF POSSIBLE TAX EVASION
Shocking allegations of possible tax evasion have emerged out of the platinum wage dispute.
On Thursday, a union negotiator told the Cape Town Press Club the platinum companies involved might be guilty of tax and wage evasion but he didn't have proof.
Brian Ashley said Amcu would reveal more next week.
"We think, although we cannot prove it at this moment, that this has got to do with a process of transfer pricing or worse, miss-invoicing, which is an illegal offence. And this miss-invoicing or transfer pricing perhaps has something to do with several subsidiaries that these companies have in what are known as tax havens."
NUM TELLS MEMBERS TO DEFEND THEMSELVES
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it has no other choice but to tell its members to defend themselves against attacks on the platinum belt, as the strike by Amcu continues.
The NUM had initially told its members working at shafts where Amcu is on strike to stay at home out of fear of being attacked.
But the union says its members are now receiving final warnings from their companies and are at risk of being dismissed .
The NUM's Frans Baleni says, "They are being attacked on their way to work or in their homes. We are saying that they've got a right to life and they therefore must defend themselves."