Talks collapse, South Africa’s 6-week platinum strike rumbles on

Wage talks collapsed between the world’s top platinum producers and South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction workers Union (AMCU) on Wednesday (05/03/2014), dashing hopes for an end soon to a crippling six-week strike.

The precious metal’s spot price spiked to four-month high of $1,472.50 after the three producers — Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin – said the government mediated talks had broken down.

Amplats said in a statement the talks “have been suspended indefinitely“. The government mediator, the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), said the “parties still remain far apart.” AMCU said on Tuesday it had softened its stance for the first time, saying it now want staggered increases to bring the basic entry wage to 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month in three years’ time, over double current levels, instead of immediately.

The companies have not blinked and say they remained committed to their latest offer of increases of up to 9%, setting the stage for a protracted and grinding showdown between capital and labour on South africa’s restive platinum belt.

The stoppage has hit over 40% of global production of the precious metal used for emissions-capping catalytic converters in automobiles. – Reuters


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