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Mildred Oliphant calls for calm

Oct 05 2012 12:25 Sapa

Striking Amplats workers. (AFP)

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Johannesburg - Labour minister Mildred Oliphant on Friday called for stability to be restored in the platinum sector.

"There are still worrying numbers of workers on strike," she said at the announcement of a platinum industry discussion forum in Johannesburg.

"It is important that stability returns to the platinum sector as soon as possible."

When negotiating wage settlements, non-unionised workers should also be consulted.

At Lonmin, workers not part of the National Union of Mineworkers had complained about a lack of information, she said.

Collective bargaining agreements needed innovative approaches and to go beyond wages and living conditions. Multi-year agreements were preferred, but could be reviewed on an annual basis if warranted.

Representatives of platinum companies and unions attended the meeting, held at the Chamber of Mines, and chaired by independent facilitators.

Facilitator Charles Nupen said there had been a "surprising" degree of unanimity from unions and companies.

Five issues had been identified for discussion - industry sustainability, centralised bargaining arrangements, wages, industry stability, and socio-economic problems.

Talks would start on Monday towards an industry-wide agreement.

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