IMPLATS: 7,217 +49 (+0.68%)
South African platinum firms kick off wage talks
JOHANNESBURG, July 9 (Reuters) - The world's top platinum
miners kicked off talks with South Africa's unions on Tuesday in
what is expected to be a tough round of wage talks, as a rise in
profits is likely to provoke higher wage demands.
The majority union in the platinum sector, the Association
of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), said it had
presented its demands to Anglo American Platinum
(Amplats) and would do the same to the rest of the firms this
"It is important that they look at their employees wages and
there is nothing really they can cry foul of, we are hopeful
that they will look into lending an offer that is reasonable,"
said AMCU General Secretary Jimmy Gama.
AMCU has demanded a hike of 17,000 rand ($1,145) per month,
or around 48%, for its members.
Sibanye-Stillwater, which is set to meet the union
this week, said the platinum price has remained depressed and
that the current demand was not sustainable for the miners.
"There has been decades of under investment in capital and
that is why there has been mine closures in the last few years.
You cannot pay out everything in higher wages we need to also
invest in the sustainability of the industry if we want to
preserve jobs in the long term," said Sibanye spokesman James
Amplats and Impala Platinum declined to comment on
Africa's most industrialised country has the biggest and
most lucrative platinum reserves but a strike in 2014 cost the
industry billions and forced firms to cut jobs and shed mines
after a supply glut weighed on platinum prices.
Negotiations may be tough, however, as higher prices for
palladium and rhodium and a weaker rand currency have boosted
profits at miners such as Amplats, Sibanye - now combined with
Lonmin - and Implats after several years of losses.
“Amplats will probably be under the most pressure as their
earnings and share price have run the most this year of the
bunch,” said Peter Major, an analyst and director of mining at
Mergence Corporate Solutions.
Amplats last month flagged that its half-year earnings is
expected to rise by at least 80%, boosted by the increased
(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg, editing by Ed Osmond)
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