RUSTENBURG, South Africa Jan 19 South Africa's
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) will
strike next week at the world's top three platinum producers,
hitting over half of global output and denting the margins of
companies struggling to make profits.
AMCU members voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to strike at
world no. 1 producer Anglo American Platinum in a show
of hands in a stadium in the platinum belt city of Rustenburg.
In recent days they had voted to strike at Amplats' rivals
Lonmin and Impala Platinum.
AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told the rally that Amplats
would be served notice of the strike action on Monday and
workers would down tools on Thursday.
It said last week it would do the same at Lonmin and
spokesman Jimmy Gama told Reuters after the mass meeting that
Impala Platinum would also get its notice on Monday.
"Comrades, let's intensify the struggle for a better wage,"
Mathunjwa said to roars of approval from the crowd.
He earlier swept into the stadium in a brand new Lexus car,
flanked by three burly white bodyguards, to a rock star welcome
and wild cheers from the AMCU members.
At Amplats and Lonmin, the union is seeking a minimum
monthly wage of 12,500 rand ($1,200) for entry-level workers -
more than double current levels, under the populist battle cry
of a "living wage". At Implats the union scaled back its demand
late last year to just over 8,500 rand.
Companies have said they can ill afford steep increases as
power and other costs soar against the backdrop of depressed
prices for the white metal used in emissions-capping catalytic
converters in automobiles.