Platinum talks attempt to end two-week strike

Paul Burkhardt

The drawn out labour action in the platinum sector has been costing the mining companies while police continue to quell protests in the North West.

The mining sector waits with anticipation to see if present negotiations might bring the strike to an end. (Lisa Skinner, M&G)

Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings and Lonmin, the three biggest miners of the metal, resumed wage talks with a labour union representing workers in South Africa to try to end a two-week strike.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is meeting with the industry on Wednesday, said Jeff Mphahlele, union general secretary, declining to elaborate.

Amcu is the main labour group, with more than 70 000 members in the platinum belt.

The mining companies are losing about R200-million of revenue a day and the total cost to the country is double that, according to Roger Baxter, chief operations officer at the Chamber of Mines industry lobby.

Police fired rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse a 3 000-strong crowd massed at an Anglo American Platinum mine in support of the walkout on Tuesday.

Two were arrested at Khuseleka mine, northwest of Johannesburg, according to Thulani Ngubane, a spokesperson for the police in the North West province.

Police are investigating the burning of a vehicle belonging to an Impala worker on Wednesday, Ngubane said, as companies stated that employees reporting for duty faced intimidation.

"If it is in relation to the strike, we are going to take firm legal action against the organisers of the strike, that the violence is escalating," he said. – Bloomberg

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