Amplats Union to Decide on Joining AMCU in Wages Deadlock

An Anglo American Platinum Ltd. labor group is set to decide whether to join the majority union at the world’s biggest platinum producer in declaring a deadlock over wage talks.

“Workers will decide on their position today,” said Stephen Nhlapo, an organizer at the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, which represents employees in the smelters run by the Johannesburg-based company known as Amplats.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the largest at Amplats, declared a deadlock with the company on Sept. 26 after rejecting a 6 percent pay increase. The union has led workers on a two-week strike over job cuts at Amplats, a stoppage that ended Oct. 10 after a compromise agreed with the company, 80 percent-owned by London-based Anglo American Plc.

Mpumi Sithole, an Amplats spokeswoman, wasn’t immediately able to comment on the NUMSA vote when contacted by phone.

Two other trade unions, UASA and the National Union of Mineworkers, are also in wage talks with Amplats.

The AMCU has referred its deadlock with Amplats to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, union President Joseph Mathunjwa said today by phone. Stalled wage talks with Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., the second-largest producer of the metal, have also been referred to the CCMA, Mathunjwa said.

Implats expected the CCMA to set a date for arbitration this week, spokesman Johan Theron said by e-mail. Implats offered a 5.5 percent wage increase as the AMCU demanded a minimum basic monthly wage of 12,500 rand per month.

Wage talks between Lonmin Plc and unions are scheduled for today, Sue Vey, a spokeswoman for the third-largest producer, said by phone. Lonmin has yet to present its offer to unions, Mathunjwa said.

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