SA platinum strike estimated to cost R400m a day

2014-02-04 12:17

Wage talks between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the world’s top three platinum producers resumed today, with hopes that progress will be made by the end of the week to find a solution to a nearly two-week strike, which is costing the industry R197 million a day and is estimated to cost the country R400 million a day.

Members of the hardline Amcu walked out at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum and Lonmin last month, demanding monthly wages be more than doubled.

The strike has hit around 40% of global platinum supply.

“The strikes are currently costing the industry about R197m per day,” said Roger Baxter, the chief operations officer at the Chamber of Mines.

“We estimate that the daily cost to the country is closer to R400 million a day.”

Government mediators said on Sunday they had made a proposal to end the strike but did not give details.

Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith said yesterday there might be progress by the end of this week as people on the ground “don’t want this to be a protracted strike”.

The producers, who have been wrestling with soaring inputs costs and suppressed platinum prices, say the wage demands are unaffordable and unrealistic.

Wildcat strikes in 2012 also dented the industry profit margins and output and another drawn-out strike will hurt recovery.

Another labour group, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, walked out at Amplats refineries and smelters yesterday, but the processing operations had not been affected, the company said.

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