Platinum strike: Miners to be addressed

The union will reveal the response by platinum companies to its additional demands in Rustenburg.

Amcu members sing and dance at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg ahead of the briefing by union leader Joseph Mathunjwa on 23 June 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union ( Amcu) says the response by platinum companies to additional demands will be revealed to workers at today's planned central mass meeting in Rustenburg.

The union is planning a meeting with striking workers at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium this afternoon where its president, Jacob Mathunjwa, is expected to address his members.

Amcu members walk around the Royal Bafokeng Stadium near Rustenburg with a coffin reading 'rest in peace NUM and Cosatu' at the union's mass meeting on 23 June 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

The meeting follows an agreement in principle being reached with Impala Platinum (Implats) , Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Lonmin 10 days ago.

A deal was expected to be signed over the past few days, but additional demands were tabled by the union.

While Amcu's additional demands have been described as unrealistic by the platinum companies, Mathunjwa is expected to plot the way forward at today's meeting.

It's understood Amcu wants a once off R3,000 back to work bonus to be paid to all striking workers and the assurance that no retrenchments will take place.

The union's demand that police drop criminal charges instituted against its members during the strike is also likely to be dismissed.

But the union says ending the strike and accepting the compromised agreement would be up to its members.

Mahlodi Muofhe, spokesperson for the Department of Mineral Resources, has admitted the relationship between Amcu and the platinum companies has soured and neither party has the appetite for further talks.

"Both parties don't have the appetite to prolong this thing unnecessarily but obviously the relationship is adversarial and each party would want to ensure they get the best for their own constituency. We are optimistic an agreement will be reached soon."

Meanwhile, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told the South African Broadcasting Corporation that government won't intervene in the negotiations.

Around 70,000 Amcu members at Lonmin, Implats and Amplats went on strike in January demanding an entry level salary of R12,500.

The action has halted mines that normally account for 40 percent of global platinum output and has hit the country's overall GDP, pushing it into contraction in the first quarter of the year.

The strike has cost the industry over R23.4 billion in lost earnings.

It has also 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.

Trade union Solidarity has said it expects up to 10,000 workers to be affected by downsizing and restructuring on the platinum belt once Amcu's wage strike comes to an end.