A new round of talks on a new wage offer between the world’s top platinum producers and union leaders have failed to end a crippling 13-week strike, the companies say.
“Unfortunately, no resolution has yet been achieved in resolving the three-month strike relating to wages and benefits,” Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin said in a statement on Thursday.
In a bid to break one of the longest strikes in South Africa’s recent history, the world’s three biggest platinum firms made an offer last week that will increase the remuneration package of radical union AMCU’s members to 12,500 rand ($A1,270) a month by 2017.
While urging the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) to “recommend” the offer to its members, the producers said they would now communicate “directly” with their employees with the details of the offer.
“We strongly urge the AMCU leadership to take this fair settlement offer to their members and to let them decide,” the chief executives of the three firms said in a joint statement.
“The producers have a duty to provide the details of the settlement offer to our employees and will do so forthwith,” they added.
More than 80,000 AMCU members downed tools on January 23 for 12,500 rand in basic pay a month, a demand that became the rallying cry with which the union won prominence on the platinum belt during violent labour unrest in 2012.
Entry-level workers currently earn around 5,000 rand basic pay a month.
The firms’ latest offer will increase their total pay and benefits by 7.5 to 10 per cent annually over the next three years.
“This revised offer is one of the highest increases anywhere in the sector and the country,” said the companies.
The eventual 12,500-rand total includes living, holiday and other allowances, but AMCU wants that figure in basic pay alone.
Employers say that the union’s demand would amount to an average increase in total remuneration of up to 30 per cent a year over four years — unaffordable to a struggling industry.
The strike has so far cost the workers around 6,4-billion rand in lost income and producers some 14,5 billion rand in revenue.