Union boss says deal to end strike is imminent

June 13, 2014

Joseph Mathunjwa, the leader of South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), said on Friday a wage deal with the top three platinum producers was imminent, signaling a possible end to a five-month strike that has disrupted global output of the metal from South Africa, Reuters reported

The mines offered an increase in wages of about 20 percent and AMCU workers begged Mathunjwa to accept the offer and end the strike.

Mathunjwa told Johannesburg radio he would take the offer to more AMCU members at mines on Friday, before meeting with management at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum later or over the weekend to relay the response of his miners to their offer.

The major outstanding sticking point was whether the wage deal should stretch over three or five years, Mathunjwa said.

South Africa is home to 80 percent of the world's known platinum reserves and the strike has halted production at mines that usually account for 40 percent of global output of the precious metal.

The strike by the 70,000 AMCU members began in January and dragged Africa's most advanced economy into contraction in the first quarter. Mining output fell at the steepest rate in half a century, pulling manufacturing down with it and putting the economy at risk of a recession.

When it first downed tools, AMCU said it wanted a roughly 150 percent pay rise to 12,500 rand per month, but platinum companies said this was totally unrealistic and for much of the negotiations said it wouldn't go beyond 10 percent.


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