South Africa's AMCU union postpones meeting with mediator

JOHANNESBURG Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:02am EST

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JOHANNESBURG Feb 14 (Reuters) - Talks between South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and a state mediator about a strike over wages in the platinum sector will be postponed to next week, a union leader said on Friday.

The mediator was scheduled to meet AMCU officials on Friday but the union said it was organising a funeral of a steward who was killed in a clash with police at an Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine last week.

"We will be available next week," AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told eNCA television.

The state mediator met producers separately on Thursday.

Members of AMCU downed tools three weeks ago at Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin after wage talks failed. Hitting over 40 percent of global output of the precious metal, the strike is stoking tensions on South Africa's platinum belt.

The stoppages are costing the country an estimated $36 million a day and are an unwelcome distraction for President Jacob Zuma and the ruling African National Congress three months before general elections.

AMCU wants basic pay to more than double to 12,500 rand ($1,100) a month, which companies say they can ill afford as they grapple with soaring costs and depressed global demand for the metal used for emissions-capping catalytic converters in vehicles. ($1 = 11.0218 South African rand) (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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