JOHANNESBURG, Mar 5 – Talks aimed at ending a six-week-long platinum miners’ strike in South Africa have been suspended after producers rejected a revised wage demand, the companies and mediator said Wednesday.
The negotiations “have been suspended indefinitely to allow stakeholders time to reflect on the current offer,” the world’s top platinum producer Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said in a statement.
The radical AMCU union, which represents tens of thousands of platinum workers, had Tuesday appeared to soften its position, saying its wage demand could be spread over four years.
But mining companies said the new demand was just unrealistic and translated to an increaswe of up to 35 percent year on year.
The companies the world’s top three platinum producers had offered staggered increases of seven to nine percent over the next three years.
“We remain far apart,” said Chris Griffith, CEO of Amplats and Ben Magara, CEO of Lonmin in a statement.
Impala Platinum (Implats) said the discussions “have unfortunately not managed to secure a resolution to the industry wage dispute” and have been adjourned.
The mediators Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration concluded that “given that parties still remain far apart at this stage, the CCMA has decided to adjourn the process to give all parties an opportunity to reflect on their respective positions.”
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has vowed to achieve its goal of a $1,125 (820 euro) minimum monthly wage by whatever “means necessary”.
The demand by the union was at the centre of the 2012 deadly strike at Lonmin, when 34 mineworkers were killed by police on August 16, 2012.
South Africa holds around 80 percent of the world’s known platinum reserves.