Mines lose R10bn in Amcu strike

2014-03-25 09:50

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The impact of the mining strike by Amcu, which began in January, has caused irreparable harm as R10 billion in revenue has already been lost, platinum mining bosses have said.

“The extended strike on the platinum belt is unprecedented and at a stage where some of its impacts are becoming irreparable,” stated a joint statement today by the CEOs of Impala Platinum (Implats), Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Lonmin Platinum.

“These impacts are not only on the companies, but also on employees, local businesses, suppliers and communities. The financial cost – now close to R10bn in revenue lost, and about R4.4bn in earnings lost to employees – does not tell the full story.”

Amplats CEO Chris Griffith, Implats CEO Terence Goodlace and Lonmin CEO Ben Magara said mines and shafts were becoming unviable, people were hungry, children were not going to school, businesses were closing and crime in the platinum belt was increasing.

“While the [platinum] companies remain open to discussions with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) ... no talks are currently under way,” they said.

“Overwhelmingly, we are being told by employees that they wish to return to work and we need to collectively find a way to ensure they are able to exercise their right to do so.”

The CEOs said the structural shift that Amcu was seeking had consequences.

“Sadly, as the industry progresses towards greater mechanisation and higher skills levels, which are aligned with higher earnings and greater productivity, so the number of people employed in the industry will decrease.

“A settlement must be found for the sake of our companies, our employees, the sector as a whole and everyone adversely affected by the strike. We urge Amcu to return to the negotiating table ready to seek an affordable and sustainable solution.”

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa, general secretary Jeff Mphahlele and treasurer Jimmy Gama could not be reached for comment today.

Members of Amcu at the three companies downed tools on January 23 to push for a basic monthly salary of R12 500. They rejected a wage offer of up to 9%.

The companies, in return, rejected Amcu’s revised demand that the R12 500 could be achieved over four years.

Talks to resolve the strike are being mediated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration.

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