(Clarifies respective positions of companies, union in
* Implats, Amplats offer annual rises of 7.5-10 pct
* Strike has hit 40 pct of world platinum output
* Talks involved company, union bosses and minister
By Ed Stoddard and Tiisetso Motsoeneng
JOHANNESBURG, April 17 South African platinum
producers made a new wage offer on Thursday in a bid to end a
three-month strike at their mines that has hit 40 percent of
global output of the industrial metal.
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world's top
producer, and Impala Platinum (Implats), the
second-biggest, said in separate statements they had offered
annual increases of 7.5 to 10 percent, compared with an earlier
offer of as much as 9 percent per year.
The companies' new wage increase offer would push the
overall salary package of all their underground workers to
12,500 rand a month by 2017. On its side, the union has softened
its original wage demand from 12,500 rand to be achieved
immediately to the same amount over three to four years.
"This settlement offer has been made in the interests of
bringing an end to the debilitating 12-week strike that has
crippled the platinum sector and has brought untold hardship to
employees, their families, communities and the companies,"
It was unclear whether Lonmin , the
third-largest producer, has offered a similar deal.
Talks between the companies and leaders of the Association
of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) are scheduled to
continue on Tuesday, following a four-day Easter holiday
Amplats, Implats and Lonmin have so far lost 13.5 billion
rand ($1.3 billion) in revenue to the longest and most damaging
South African mining strike in living memory.
The producers have consistently said they cannot afford the
AMCU wage demands due to rising operating costs and depressed
prices for the precious metal, which is used in catalytic
converters in automobiles.
Thursday's meeting took place between officials on both
sides at the highest levels since the early days of the strike,
including the chief executives of the three companies, AMCU
President Joseph Mathunjwa and South African Labour Minister
The strike has also been a headache for President Jacob Zuma
and the African National Congress as a national election is just
three weeks away.
AMCU on Tuesday asked the government and the public for
funds to help sustain 70,000 striking members who have gone
nearly three months without pay.
($1 = 10.4820 South African Rand)
(Editing by Jane Baird)