Talks between striking workers and platinum companies continued on Wednesday in a last- ditch effort to end a protracted strike that has dealt a heavy blow to the platinum sector.
During the course of this week, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) will conduct separate engagements with the trade union and the platinum producers, CCMA spokesperson Laura Mseme said.
The CCMA has mediated talks between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and three major platinum companies -- Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin Platinum since the strike started more than two months ago.
"This process has been continuous and ongoing, with this being an important step towards finding a mediated solution to the current industrial action that is impacting on both employers and employees alike," said CCMA Director Nerine Kahn.
The strike has brought the world's platinum production to a near standstill.
By Wednesday morning, the companies' revenues loss stood at 10. 2 billion rands (about 962 million U.S. dollars), and employees' earnings loss at more than 4.5 billion rands.
The companies are presenting the losses on the website www. platinumwagenegotiations.co.za, with figures on lost revenue and employees' lost earnings changing every second.
About 80,000 AMCU members downed tools at the three platinum companies on Jan. 23, demanding basic salaries of 12,500 rands a month.
Later, AMCU revised its demand, agreeing to a gradual realization of the demand in a period of four years.
But platinum producers rejected the revised demand, saying the new offer translates into an average annual increase of 29 percent and remains unaffordable as it remains significantly above inflation.