No end to S.Africa's Platinum strikes as violence looms

by Trust Matsilele 0

The mining companies’ latest offer, was for wage rises of up to 10 per cent and other increases that would take the minimum pay package to 12,500 rand a month by July 2017.

 “We can’t see an end to the strike at this stage and of course signs of war are coming out strongly. The union is looking to rattle everyone’s cage and we are certainly not going to have a solution after the elections,” Michael Bagraim, a partner at Bagraim Attorneys told CNBC Africa.

“Management has started to make individual offers to workers and there has been movement by people back to work but also threats of violence have started and this might spark violence.”

Amcu that represents tens of thousands of platinum workers in the platinum belt ( [DATA AMS:Anglo Platinum],  [DATA IMP:Impala Platinum] and [DATA LMI:Lonmin]) was initially reported to have softened their position hoping the wage demand could be spread over three years.

The South African platinum strikes are estimated to be costing the nation about 400 million rand a day.

Since the beginning of the marathon strikes companies have lost over 10 billion rand in revenue and still counting.

With companies moving toward mechanisation of most of their shafts, less labour will be required and this might weaken the leverage of unions in negotiations.

(READ MORE: Troubled platinum miners face impending retrenchment)

“The unions don’t understand that the management are doing everything in their power to mechanise to ensure many of their shafts run with less manpower, “added Bagraim.

“We are expecting to see violence soon and we are hoping that the police will not trigger another Marikana.”

In 2012, strikes at Marikana resulted in 44 deaths and with no signs of an end in sight fears are rising that similar incident could occur due to growing frustrations in the mining towns.

Amcu has threatened that it can go for months posing serious threats to miners’ livelihood and the economy at large.