The talks will resume on February 11, 2014. The strikes have put production on hold. South Africa hosts the worlds largest platinum mines, and one death and one serious injury have been a product of the strike thus far. The South African Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration will meet with Mine Employers on Tuesday. The talks come after the rejection of a proposal that would pay entry level mine workers more than double what they are currently making. The proposal asked employers to raise pay to 12,500 rand, that’s $1,130 per month.
The AMCU encompasses: Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platium Holdings, and Lonmin PLC. The Union released about 70,000 workers to strike as of January 23, 2014. The Employers are losing about $200,000,000/day. South Africa accounts for approximately 70% of global platinum output. Platinum can be used to create jewelry and it is the substance needed to create catalytic converters.
Employers dispelled a proposal to raise miner incomes by 9% per year, but the Unions rejected it. The rejection was a clear sign that the worst may be yet to come. “We were amazed that the employers rejected CCMA recommendation and stuck to their 9%”, said Joseph Mathunjwa, President of the AMCU. Furthermore he stated, “This made discussions on a possible settlement difficult and left AMCU with no option but to continue with strike action.”
A product of the strike was a Union official being killed by police with a rubber bullet. This incident occurred at the Amplats Mine in the North Limpopo Province. Another incident occurred at Amplats when a mine worker was attacked by protesters. He’s in the hospital recovering. Mathunwas also blamed what he referred to as “Dark Forces” for instigating the violence.
But the question remains, should the platinum mine workers be happy with the 9% raise proposal or do they deserve to have their pay more than doubled overnight.