Strikes Plague Platinum Producers

by on November 4, 2013 7:38 pm GMT

A wage strike at Northam Platinum Ltd. was called by South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers. According to Northam Platinum’s Zondereinde site, the world’s deepest platinum mine, as served with a strike notice after they refused an offer for a seven to eight percent pay increase.

“There has been no invitation from the company, but we’ll be ready to see them for talks,” Ecliff Tantsi, the union’s negotiator at Northam. The strike began on yesterday’s night shift and the following morning shift, said Tantsi. The National Union of Mineworkers has 7,000 employees at Northam, and they are demanding, on average, 61 percent in pay increases.

Northam Platinum shares fell two percent in Johannesburg and the largest laggard in the TSE/JSE Africa Platinum Mining Index.

The output of the Zondereinde site is estimated at 300,000 ounces per year.

Wage conflict is also hurting other platinum producers. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) could not reach an agreement over wages with Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Lonmin PLC, the three global leaders in platinum production.

The AMCU treasurer, Jimmy Gama said that it could be possible to have a joint strike across the troubled platinum companies.