June 2, 2014 / 9:41 AM / 4 years ago

South African court deals blow to platinum union

* AMCU wants platinum firms to stop communicating with miners

* Labour court says AMCU application not urgent

JOHANNESBURG, June 2 (Reuters) - A South African labour court threw out an urgent application on Monday by the AMCU union to stop platinum firms communicating directly with striking miners, dealing a blow to the union’s attempt to stop the companies from sidestepping it.

Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin took their wage offers directly to strikers after talks with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) to end the five-month strike failed.

AMCU objected to the move and filed an urgent application to have it halted, but the union’s lawyer, Jayson Kent, said the court had throw it out, arguing it was not an urgent matter.

“We were concerned that urgency might be an issue and it’s turned out that it was the issue that has ultimately resulted in our failure here today,” he told reporters outside the court. “There are other avenues that we could consider.”

AMCU is demanding a basic monthly wage for its members of 12,500 rand ($1,200) within three to four years while the companies have offered pay hikes of up to 10 percent that reach that figure by 2017 if ancillary benefits are also included.

The labour court is currently mediating the dispute and new mining minister Ngaoko Ramatlhodi has assembled a government team to negotiate a solution to what is already South Africa’s longest and most costly labour dispute. ($1 = 10.5837 South African Rand) (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Ed Cropley)

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