Stalemate in platinum wage talks

Amplats has urged Amcu to return to the terms of last week's agreement.

Amcu-affiliated miners demonstrate in Marikana on the platinum belt in the North West where a strike in the sector has run since January. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has called on the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to return to the terms of its agreement in principle to end a 21 week-long strike after confirming it has yet to strike a deal nearly a week later.

Amcu accepted the agreement last week in principle on condition that its members receive a once-off cash payment and increases on allowances.

The conditions are what's believed to be holding up the signing of the deal which was expected at the beginning of this week.

The platinum companies are due to meet with Amcu again today to iron out the issues.

Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole says Amcu's conditions for signing the settlement fall outside of last week's agreement.

"We urge Amcu and its leadership to return to the conditions that we agreed upon last week."

Sithole says the demands are unaffordable.

"Their response contains a series of material and unaffordable demands which go beyond the principle settlement agreement."

National Council of Trade Unions president Joseph Maqhekeni says during last week's talks the only issue which needed to be finalised was the number of years the deal would apply for.

"There are no additional demands. The conditions say instead of five years, we would like to go to three."

The producers have also confirmed they've recorded a spike in the number of people returning to work since last week.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum (Implats) and Amplats went on strike in January demanding an entry level salary of R12,500.

The strike has already had a negative impact on the country's economy and investor confidence and has been mentioned by ratings agency Standard & Poor's as one of the reasons South Africa's credit rating was downgraded.

South Africa is home to 80 percent of the world's known platinum reserves.

Meanwhile, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Tuesday that he's confident a wage agreement between Amcu and platinum producers will be signed soon.