South Africa's AMCU says platinum strike to continue, no talks

JOHANNESBURG Mon May 5, 2014 5:52am EDT

Striking platinum miners sing and dance during a rally near Lonmin's Marikana mine April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Striking platinum miners sing and dance during a rally near Lonmin's Marikana mine April 29, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said on Monday its striking members had rejected the latest wage offer by the world's three biggest platinum mining companies.

The strike has been running for nearly four months at Anglo American Platinum, Lonmin and Impala Platinum and has hit 40 percent of global production of the precious metal.

The three companies took their latest wage offer directly to the roughly 70,000 striking miners after wage talks with the union collapsed. The firms said many of the strikers had expressed a desire to return to work.

The companies are offering increases of up to 10 percent and other benefits that they say would raise the overall minimum pay package to 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month by July 2017.

AMCU had initially demanded an immediate increase to 12,500 rand, but softened that stance in March to staggered increases that would amount to 12,500 rand within three or four years.

"There are no talks scheduled," AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa told a news conference.

AMCU would call an industry-wide work stoppage should Anglo American Platinum, the biggest producer, close shafts because of the strike, he added.

Employees have lost more than 7.3 billion rand ($698 million) in wages so far, according to an industry website that provides a running tally (here).

Companies are staring at revenue losses of more than 16.4 billion rand.

($1 = 10.4625 South African Rand)

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Writing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Ed Cropley)

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