Amcu blames 'arrogant' platinum execs for continuing strike

14 May 2014 - 17:22
By Sapa
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa addresses union members during a strike rally. File photo
Image: PUXLEY MAKGATHO Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa addresses union members during a strike rally. File photo

The three-month-old strike at platinum mines will continue until a settlement is reached, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said on Wednesday.

"If you wanted nine percent increase you would be at work, but you wanted a living wage, and that is why you are still here," Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa told striking miners in Rustenburg, in the North West.

Lonmin set May 14 as the date for employees to return to their posts after its sms survey indicated that more than 60 percent of workers wanted to return to work.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum in Rustenburg and Northam in Limpopo downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

They have rejected the company's offer of 10 percent that will see them earning a minimum of R12,500 by 2017.

Mathunjwa told a crowd of about 5000 union members that their demand of R12,500 was a fraction of what the mine chief executives earned.

"Mineworkers in Australia earn 80k a month and their working conditions are much better than what you are subjected to."

Union members should ignore smses from employers urging them to return to work, he said.

"Only an agreement could end this strike, until such time an agreement is reached, the strike continues."

He said chief executives were insensitive and arrogant.

"They have big egos, they are oppressive and self-centred. It is all about them and their families."

Mathunjwa said the union had moved from an initial demand of R12,500 immediately and suggested the increase be spread over four years.

"If it was not for the arrogance of the chief executives, an agreement could have been reached," he said.

The latest offer of 10 percent was equivalent to R500, and was an amount the chief executives used to buy a 40kg bag of dog food.

"I went to stores yesterday [Tuesday] to check how much a bag of dog food costs... it is R60 more than what the CEO's want to pay you."

Mathunjwa called for calm and discipline during the strike.