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AMCU platinum mines fail to reach wage deal

Amcu is demanding pay hikes of more than 50 percent for its lowest paid members who take home R8,000.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa.Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's biggest platinum mine-workers's union and the industry have failed to reach a deal on workers' pay, the union said on Monday, raising the prospect of industrial action in the world's top producer of the white metal.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which led a crippling five-month strike in 2014, has been in talks with Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin since July this year.

"To date no progress has been made," Amcu said in a statement. "The union has therefore officially declared deadlocks with all three companies."

The companies were not immediately available to comment.

Amcu said it would next week separately meet Impala and Anglo American Platinum to seek a resolution. No meeting with Lonmin has been confirmed, it said.

Declaration of a dispute is the first step towards launching a strike and if next week's meetings fail to find a solution, the dispute would be referred to a government mediator in a bid to break the impasse, failing which Amcu could give the industry a 48-hour notice to down tools.

Amcu is demanding pay hikes of more than 50 percent for its lowest pad members, who home take around R8,000 a month, and a 15 percent hike for its higher paid members.

The demands are well above inflation at 6 percent.

South Africa has the biggest and most lucrative platinum reserves but labour unrest and regulatory uncertainty have dampened investors 'enthusiasm.

The strike in 2014 hit the industry hard, costing it more than R20 billion in lost output and forcing the companies to cut jobs, shed mines and in some cases seek cash from investors.