Mine strike could drive up petrol price

Johannesburg - The ongoing strike in the platinum mining belt could affect petrol and food prices in the long run, warned economist Mike Schüssler on Wednesday.

He was presenting the 2014 Uasa South African Employment Report in Johannesburg and said the strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is hurting the economy.

"The longer the strike carries on, the more sectors it influences and it damages the economy quite clearly," he said.

The current account, which was already weak, would negatively affect the rand so inflation and the buying power of the consumer would also be negatively affected.

Schüssler said the strike plays a big role in the confidence in the economy. The economy could recover, he added, but it would take time.

He also said the strike is taking workers into poverty.

"The mining companies are losing, but the biggest loser in this strike are the workers on the ground."

Amcu members at Lonmin [JSE:LON], Impala Platinum (Implats) [JSE:IMP] and Anglo Platinum (Amplats) [JSE:AMS] downed tools on January 23. Schüssler said the strike was the longest in the private sector in South African history since the 1987 miners' strike.

"Every week this strike goes on, more people will be affected."

"Job security is under severe pressure."

Schüssler said the strike was affecting between 150 000 and 200 000 people, but with dependants and family members included this number could be 700 000.

In the past two years, eight million work days had been lost due to strikes.

"This is more than 42 days lost per person working in the sector," he said.

Entry level workers had so far lost about R26 775 a person in wages alone and R5 016 in benefits.

Speaking on the sidelines, Schüssler said one of the problems facing the current strike would be for Amcu to find a way out of the strike, because there was a limited amount of "exit-strategy" left.

"The members have now been hurt beyond recognition... and I don't think that this union understands the strategic impact that they are having on the economy," he said.

"I think the normal member on the ground knows what the effect is, I think there is either intimidation... or they have been promised something that is not attainable. Ultimately, they are the actual biggest losers - the people on strike."

Schüssler said South Africa was one of very few countries where strikes had been increasing in the past few years, but he believed strikes would play a lesser role in future.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
17.65
-1.0%
Rand - Pound
21.23
-0.9%
Rand - Euro
18.94
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.15
-0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Platinum
970.22
-0.4%
Palladium
1,602.19
-1.8%
Gold
1,866.74
-0.2%
Silver
22.24
-0.5%
Brent Crude
79.94
-2.8%
Top 40
73,489
-0.8%
All Share
79,583
-0.8%
Resource 10
74,088
-1.5%
Industrial 25
103,121
-0.3%
Financial 15
16,377
-1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE
Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders