Labour strife continues at South African mines

An illegal strike by workers at a South African chrome mine has suspended its operations since Thursday, reports Reuters.

Members of the National Union of Mineworkers started the job action at the Rustenberg-area mine due to a dispute about bonus payments with the owner LANXESS, a global chemicals company.

A union representative said the company had issued a court injunction Friday to make the workers return to work but it had only angered them further and the strike is still ongoing. The union plans to meet with management on Monday to attempt to resolve the dispute.

Labour strife is mounting in the country is mounting and is expected to worsen as wage talks and job cuts take place.

South Africa's platinum belt holds a majority of the known global reserves of the metal.

Impala Platinum (JSE: IMP) said the country's mining industry cannot afford wage increases and new strikes are likely in the coming weeks of negotiations, according to another report by Reuters.

Mining firms are hurting from the decline in platinum prices — almost 20% in the last two years.

Additionally, unions are becoming more aggressive, especially the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which is also in a power struggle with rival NUM.

The AMCU leader threatened Friday to bring the country's economy to a standstill.

Concerns about a strike at Anglo American Platinum (JSE: AMS), which has said it will cut 6,000 jobs and mothball two mines, sent the rand down to a four-year low against the dollar on Thursday.

Image: Herby Hönigsperger, via Wikimedia Commons