JOHANNESBURG, Feb 21-Three of the world’s largest platinum producers — Amplats, Lonmin and Implats — say they have lost more than 4.4 billion Rand (about 404 million US dollars) in revenue as the wage strike in the platinum mining sector in Siouth Africa continues for a fifth week.
Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) downed tools more than a month ago, demanding an entry-level monthly salary of R12.500 (about 1,150 USD) for its members against R4,500 which the average mine worker earns each month at present.
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Lonmin and Impala Platinum (Implats) have painted a picture of rising operational costs and hinted that this could lead to retrenchments if Amcu did not modify its demand.
Speaking on behalf of the three companies, Implats Chief Executive Officer Terence Goodlace said Thursday that the mining companies were already paying decent salaries.
“If you look at history as well and you look at the basic payroll and the numbers in terms of real wages that have been paid in overtime ….. in 1990, the average pay per person per annum, was R60,000. This is in real terms not nominal terms. Today, it’s R170,000 per person …. if you convert it per month, it is about R14,000 per person per month.”
Meanwhile, opposition political parties and several trade unions, including Cosatu affiliates, say they support the National Council of Trade Unions’ (Nactu) call for a general strike if Amplats did not withdraw its lawsuit for strike-related damages through violence, damage to property and intimidation that the company says is keeping non-striking employees from working.
The Amcu is an affiliate of Nactu.