South Africa's Implats says mediator allows AMCU union to strike

Reuters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A government mediator has granted South Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union permission to call a strike against Impala Platinum (JNB:IMP), the world's second largest producer of the precious metal said on Thursday.

"A certificate of non-resolution, which is essentially a strike certificate, has been issued, allowing AMCU to call a protected wage strike, subject to a 48-hour notice period," Implats said in a statement after wage talks deadlocked.

AMCU officials were not immediately available for comment but Implats said it was hopeful talks would continue.

On Wednesday, AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa said he expected to reach a similar impasse this week with Anglo American Platinum (JNB:AMS), the world No. 1 platinum producer.

Implats said it had offered its lowest-paid workers increases of at least 8 percent for 2014 and then annual raises of 7 percent for the following two years. South Africa's inflation rate is currently 6 percent.

Known for its uncompromising stance in negotiations, AMCU has been pushing for a more than doubling of the minimum basic pay for entry-level miners to 12,500 rand (802.32 pounds) a month under the populist battle cry of a "living wage."

AMCU has emerged as the dominant union on South Africa's platinum belt, home to 80 percent of the white metal used for building emissions-capping converters in automobiles, after poaching tens of thousands of members from the once unrivalled National Union of Mineworkers last year in a turf war.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Anthony Barker)

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