Talks to end Amcu strike to resume
Talks aimed at resolving an Amcu strike at platinum mines would resume in Pretoria on January 27th, the CCMA said. Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) spokeswoman Laura Mseme said that the talks had been moved from the CCMA's Johannesburg offices to the Southern Sun Hotel in Arcadia, Pretoria.
On January 23th, members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) downed tools at Lonmin Platinum, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum. The union is demanding an entry-level monthly salary of R12,500, but employers have said that this would be unaffordable.
Lonmin CEO Ben Magara told SAFM on January 24th that the company had been negotiating with the union since October and had offered between eight and 8.5 percent.
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu were present at the start of talks on January 24th, but were not expected to attend on 27th. Oliphant's spokesman Musa Zondi said the talks between Amcu and employers were set down for three days.
North West police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said no incidents of strike-related violence were reported over the weekend. A group of Amcu members, however, lodged a complaint of intimidation at a police station in Rustenburg, claiming that they received threatening SMSes urging them to abandon their strike.
Implats spokesman Johan Theron said that no serious incidents were reported at the company's mines over the weekend. Most miners left the mines to return home over weekends, he said. Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said the situation at Amplats mines was also quiet over the weekend. The previous week both companies had cases of striking workers not keeping to the agreed picketing areas.
In a statement on January 24th afternoon, Sithole said only about 10 percent of employees turned up for work at affected mines. Processing operations and the Mogalakwena mine were unaffected by the strike. "The company confirms that, as a result of the industrial action, total lost platinum production amounts to approximately 4000 ounces per day at the affected operations, resulting in R100 million of lost revenue per day at current market prices."
An Amcu strike in the gold sector was delayed the previous week, when the Labour Court in Johannesburg postponed ruling on an urgent application for an interdict against the strike until January 23th. Strikes were scheduled to take place at Sibanye Gold's Driefontein mine, Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu and Masimong mines, and at all AngloGold Ashanti's South African operations.
Judge Hamilton Cele proposed that the strike not proceed until his ruling could be handed down, but said this should not be taken as an indication that he had granted the Chamber of Mines an interdict to prevent the strike.
(Mail & Guardian/Sapa)