Platinum strike spreads to metal workers

2014-02-03 08:48

Workers at the South African operations of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) are to strike over pay, says the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

It says between 1 000 and 2 000 Amplats metal workers will down tools from today. This will add to the woes of the world’s top producer of the precious metal with miners already on strike.

The union is demanding double-digit pay increases and a doubling of salaries of the worst-paid workers to R2 500, says Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.

It also wants improved accommodation and transport for workers, double pay on holidays and ending the practice of conducting body searches at the end of a shift.

Amplats, which will publish its results today, has already been hit hard by a strike that is also affecting Implats and Lonmin.

Negotiations between the three major platinum mine owners and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) are expected to resume tomorrow.

The CEOs of the three platinum producers this week raised the spectre of restructuring and layoffs if the strike persisted.

“Prolonged strike action will result in more losses and further fundamental restructuring and, inevitably, this will have an impact on jobs and the economy,” they said in a joint statement.

Workers are demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500, about double their current pay.

It is the same demand that spurred the 2012 strikes, which turned violent and resulted in the Marikana police shooting.

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