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The mining minister bows out of platinum sector strike talks

by , 10 June 2014

Just two weeks ago, Ngoako Ramatlhodi became new mining minister when President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet. Mr Ramatlhodi vowed to bring an end to the long standing platinum sector strike, which began on 23 January. But yesterday, the minister and his government team stood down from their roles as mediators in current talks. Let's take a closer look at what's going on…

The government task team quit wage talks

Last night, the platinum producers involved in the strike revealed the “the government’s task team had withdrawn from the platinum strike talks,” reports Fin24. The producers said that talks has “been dissolved without an outcome”.

This follows Mr Ramatlhodi’s declaration over the weekend that he would “walk away from the negotiations should no resolution be reached on Monday,” says Mining Weekly. But it appears his ultimatum had little impact on the long standing strike.

The platinum sector strike isn’t just having a devastating impact on the platinum companies who produce 40% of the world’s platinum, notes MoneyWeb. The strike is affecting the economy, “driving it into contraction in the first quarter of the year”.

The striking union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), wants “a basic monthly salary of R12,500,” reports Fin24. The platinum producers have offered packages of “R12,500 by July 2017”. This includes allowances.

The platinum producers involved are Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

Losses are mounting on both sides of the picket line

So far the strike has cost the platinum producers “nearly R22 billion in revenue,” adds Mining Weekly. Striking workers are down around “R10 billion in wages and benefits”. The strike has cost the industry “116 working days, equating to more than 30% of yearly output”.

With government mediators now out of the talks, what’s going to happen? Will the government make any other interventions to try to end a strike that’s pulling South Africa’s economy down? We will have to wait and see.

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The mining minister bows out of platinum sector strike talks
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