Amcu marches on Union Buildings

Platinum miners during a wage increase strike on January 23 2014 in Marikana. (Gallo)

Platinum miners during a wage increase strike on January 23 2014 in Marikana. (Gallo)

Hundreds of Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu) members marched to the Union Buildings on Thursday to hand over a petition raising their unhappiness about how government departments and mining companies have handled their strike.

Demonstrators blew vuvuzelas and whistles as they marched down Struben Street to the Union Buildings. They carried banners and flags as the sang union songs. A large police contingent was deployed to monitor? the strike.

Earlier, marshals formed a human chain around Amcu members in Marabastad ahead of the march.

"Comrades, order, stay within this circle," commanded a marshal walking around hundreds of marchers.

Police vans and nyalas were stationed at Marabasta and union marshals were on hand to stop members leaving the assembly venue.

"Comrade, where are you going? The march starts now," shouted one marshal to three men leaving the assembly point

Talks to resolve the strike via the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, have stalled. The mining companies have offered staggered increases of seven to 9% over the next three years.

On Tuesday, Amcu said it had revised its demand and that the R12 500 minimum monthly salary could now be achieved over three years.

"We are not exactly reducing our demand. Our move is meant to give the employers a breather," Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa told reporters in Johannesburg.

However, the companies rejected Amcu's revised demand. The platinum producers' chief executives said the revised Amcu demand was not affordable.

"We remain far apart. The revised demand by Amcu of an average basic wage increase of between 25% to 35% year-on-year over a four-year period remains unaffordable."

At the march on Thursday, mineworker Jukulunga Joka from Marikana, North West, said he was more determined to fight for a living wage.

"Our fellow workers died for a living wage. I cannot betray them," he said.

He was referring to 34 mineworkers killed by police at Marikana on August 16 2012. Joka held aloft a poster reading: "Our journey for a living wage is stronger than before."

He said with R12 500 he would be able to provide for his family in the Eastern Cape.

"I am prepared to go on strike for future mineworkers to earn a decent wage," he said. – Sapa

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