Economist forecasts platinum restructuring

Johannesburg (June 11)  The union on strike at the world’s biggest platinum producers is consulting its members after the latest effort to break the four-month deadlock ended in failure and without any plans for further negotiations.

Government-led talks to resolve the dispute over pay ended June 9 without agreement between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

Nomura International analysts predicted the walkout will end months from now in companies restructuring their operations.

More than 70,000 Amcu members have been on strike since January23 to back a demand that wages for the lowest paid underground employees be more than doubled to 12,500 rand a month by 2017.

The companies have said they can’t afford that and offered increases of as much as 10 percent.

“We think the market has repeatedly become over- enthusiastic about the likelihood of a resolution because it has not understood Amcu’s core stance on the 12,500 rand,” Peter Attard Montalto, an emerging-markets strategist at Nomura in London, said in a note to clients.

“That it is the basic salary and is non-negotiable.”

The Amcu plans to get feedback from members through next week on what to do next, Jimmy Gama, treasurer for the union, said by phone today.