Northam Platinum Strike Continues After Wage Talks Fail

Northam Platinum Ltd. and the union leading a strike at the South African operator of the world’s deepest mine for the metal failed to agree over wages at their latest meeting, extending a month-long disruption.

“Negotiations are not concluded yet,” Marion Brower, a spokeswoman for Northam at Russell & Associates, said in a phone interview. Another meeting is “to be convened,” she said.

Northam today met the National Union of Mineworkers in talks facilitated by South Africa’s Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. “No agreement,” Ecliff Tantsi, chief NUM negotiator at Northam, said in a text message.

A stoppage that started Nov. 3 at Northam’s Zondereinde mine has cut revenue by 360 million rand ($34.5 million), Brower said Dec. 2. Basic-wage losses among the almost 7,000 workers on strike exceeded 50 million rand after a month, she said.

The NUM, representing about 80 percent of employees at the mine, has demanded an average pay increase of 61 percent. The outcome will set a precedent for wage talks at larger producers such as Anglo American Platinum Ltd., according to Investec Plc and Stanlib Asset Management. The companies mine most of their platinum in South Africa, which has the largest known reserves.

Northam, based in Johannesburg, has offered pay increases of 8 percent to 9 percent to end the strike, it said Nov. 25.

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