Hopes for an immediate resolution to the strike, which began
on Thursday, remained dim given AMCU's uncompromising approach
to negotiations and with the two sides poles apart over wages.
The delegations for the talks at a Pretoria hotel were also low
level, with no ministers or chief executives from Anglo American
Platinum, Impala Platinum or Lonmin. AMCU president Joseph
Mathunjwa was also absent.
South Africa's rand lost more than 1 percent in early trade to
hit new five-year lows against the dollar as the strikes
coincided with an emerging-market selloff, dealing a double blow
to investor confidence in Africa's biggest economy.
"It's a perfect storm. Aside from the offshore factors which are
beyond our control, locally we have the strikes, a general
election in a few months and a weak economy. So there is no good
news for the rand at the moment," said Christie Viljoen of NKC
Platinum's spot price climbed slightly to $1,425.00 an ounce,
approaching 2-1/2-month highs, on concerns about the impact the
stoppages will have on the metal used for emissions-capping
catalytic converters in automobiles.
Under the populist battle cry of a "living wage", AMCU is
demanding minimum entry-level pay of 12,500 rand ($1,100) a
month from the three platinum producers — a more than doubling
of current levels.
Companies say they can ill afford this as they grapple with
soaring costs and depressed demand for platinum, especially in
key markets such as Europe.
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; additional reporting and writing
by Ed Stoddard; editing by Dale Hudson)
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