Today, Tusday April 22, the Platinum mining companies are meeting with the AMCU at an undisclosed location to renew talks that broke down about a week ago.
There is a new offer which was released to the media by the mining companies, which is that the 12,500 rand wage will be met over the next three years. While the workers have been requesting this wage, they are not happy about how it is being given. Instead of a increase to the basic wage before living and other allowances, the Platinum mining companies are only giving around a 10% wage increase and then adding on other allowances and programs to bring it up to the 12500 rand. This is a valid concern by the mine workers because any future wage increase will be based off their base wage, and not the other allowances.
This strike has now been in effect for a full 13 weeks and is not yet over despite this new deal that was released. While the wage number amount was met, the time frame and details are very important. Siphamandla Makhanya a AMCU speaker said that this latest offer was not the final offer, and would not immediately go to a member vote.
There has been little to no political intervention in the matter of the strike, and for good reason. The general election is being held may 7th, and the current President Jacob Zuma does not want to be on the bad side of either the platinum mine owners or the workers. Without pressure from the government to end this strike it will be up to the AMCU and the mine owners to reach their own compromise.
Workers have lost to date a total of 6.3 billion rand, while the mining companies have lost a total of 14.2 billion rand. This strike has most likely expedited a restructuring of the sector as a whole. Talks of closing some mines permanently, large scale layoffs, and liquidizing some companies due to severe deficits are happening.
It is already known that there will be a very large deficit of production vs demand this year. If these strikes continue any longer the bets that the above ground stockpiles will be able to supply this demand may end up backfiring.