Policy: Labor

Workers vote to strike at world's biggest platinum mine

Labor unions,Labor,Mining,South Africa

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the largest labor group at Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd.’s South African operations, said it will go on strike at the world’s biggest platinum mine.

Workers voted in favor of the stoppage at a meeting the union held yesterday with members near Rustenburg, in North West province, AMCU Treasurer Jimmy Gama said by phone. Impala accounts for about 25 percent of global platinum supplies.

The AMCU is demanding basic monthly wages for underground workers of 12,500 rand ($1,275) from the three largest South African platinum producers, where it has usurped the National Union of Mineworkers as the dominant labor representative. The companies’ profit margins have declined after prices fell and costs increased.

Implats, as the metals producer is known, declined 0.8 percent to 123.85 rand by the close yesterday in Johannesburg. The FTSE/JSE Africa Platinum Mining Index fell 0.6 percent.

The AMCU rejected a pay offer of 8 percent for the year through June, Implats spokesman Johan Theron said Oct. 24. South Africa’s inflation rate was 6 percent in September.

Implats offered to increase pay by 7 percent in the second and third years of the proposed agreement, Theron said. This would increase the total monthly remuneration of entry-level underground workers to 10,756 rand by the end of the cycle, with the cash portion accounting for about 7,000 rand, he said.

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