THE leader of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said on Friday a wage deal with the world’s top three platinum producers was imminent, in a sign the longest mining strike in the country’s history may soon be over.
Workers and shop stewards from Amcu begged leader Joseph Mathunjwa on Thursday to end a five-month stalemate and sign the latest offer from platinum companies, which amounts to an increase of about 20%, or R1,000/month.
Mr Mathunjwa told Talk Radio 702 he hoped to meet leaders of Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum late on Friday or at the weekend to relay the response of his members to the offer.
“At least there is light at the end of the tunnel, which is not the light of a goods train,” he told the radio station.
The major outstanding sticking point was whether the wage deal should stretch over three or five years, he added.
“We are in quite a sensitive stage of trying to resolve this and reach an agreement. We won’t do things haphazardly,” he said.
About 80% of the world’s known platinum reserves are in South Africa and the strike has halted production at mines that usually account for 40% of global output of the precious metal.
The strike by the 70,000 Amcu members began in January and dragged the South African economy into contraction in the first quarter as mining output fell at the steepest rate in half a century, and pulled manufacturing down with it.