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Wage talks for platinum workers set

Apr 12 2013 16:24 Reuters

(File) (Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - South African platinum firms will hold talks on Monday with a union that has risen to the largest in the sector, trying to persuade it to negotiate an industry-wide wage deal instead of company-by-company contracts.

The Chamber of Mines hopes to avert deadly labour friction that slammed platinum companies last year in its talks with the militant AMCU union, which has a history of walking out of discussions instead of working out agreements.

"Our members are not in favour of the process," AMCU national treasurer Jimmy Gama told Reuters on Friday, but added the union has agreed to attend the discussions with platinum firms and the Chamber of Mines.

AMCU has fought a turf war with the established National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and their battle caused some of the country's biggest mines to suspend operations last year due to deadly fighting.

NUM has negotiated industry-wide deals with the gold and coal sectors and South Africa's Chamber of Mines has been pushing for a similar arrangement for platinum because it believes it will decrease the chance of labour strife.

South Africa is the world's largest producer of the white metal used for catalytic converters in automobiles and as jewellery. 

Many platinum mining firms have closed or are considering suspending operations because they are having trouble making money due to rising costs and low spot metal prices.

Wage negotiations for the gold and coal industries are expected to start in May.

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amcu  |  num  |  wages  |  platinum  |  mine workers

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