PRETORIA, April 23– Negotiations to end South Africa’s longest and most costly strike in the platinum mining sector continued at an undisclosed venue for a second day on Tuesday.
There has been cautious optimism that the three month strike could soon be over after the mining companies Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin tabled a fresh wage offer last week. The strike has cost the economy around R20 billion rand in lost revenue and wages.
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant convened the face to face talks between Association of Mineworkers Construction Union and the mining company executives last week. The talks were expected to last well into the night.
Employers have tabled a new offer which in effect amounts to an annual increase of 10 % over the next five years.
” What is on offer is cash remuneration as opposed to basic pay, huge difference, cash remuneration involves things like allowances, the living out allowance, the 13th cheque and other allowances, which takes you some way away from the basic pay which is there, ” says Wits University researcher Gavin Capp.
Amcu has remained mum on the new offer. But some analysts believe that a deal is imminent.
“I do not believe it is surprising that a deal is going to be reached now because at the moment all sides are losing out so badly that they have to somehow reach some compromise, ” says Chief Economist at Econometrix, Dr Azar Jammine.
An end to the marathon strike would be welcome relief to everyone. The producers have lost R14.2 billion to date. The miners have lost R6.3 billion in wages.
Each miner on average supports 10 dependents. Shares of the mining companies, as well as the platinum index ended higher in anticipation of a breakthrough.