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Mass strike paralyses South Africa's platinum belt

Published on Jan 23, 2014 6:31 PM
South Africa's hardline Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) began a strike over pay in the platinum sector on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014, bringing mines that produce half the world's platinum to a standstill. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

RUSTENBURG, South Africa (AFP) - Workers at South Africa's top three platinum producers downed tools for higher wages on Thursday, as police braced for potential violence and investors braced for more economic turmoil.

Up to 80,000 miners affiliated with the hardline Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) want entry-level wages more than doubled to US$1,150 (S$1,470).

Mine owners, facing higher costs and squeezed profits, say that is unaffordable.

Top three companies Anglo-American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin confirmed that the strike had begun at their operations in the platinum belt, northwest of Johannesburg.

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