Platinum Prices Might Explode If Unions And Miners Can’t Agree – by Dave Forest (Oil – July 21, 2016)

It’s crunch time for global platinum. With events kicking off this week that could radically change the outlook for supply — and prices — over the coming weeks and months.

That critical happening is wage negotiations between South Africa’s mineworkers and the world’s biggest platinum producing companies. Which got underway Tuesday — with some abrupt demands from the country’s largest union.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) sat down with miners Lonmin Plc and Impala Platinum. And formally tabled a demand for wage increases to 12,500 rand ($875) per month for the lowest-paid employees in the union.

That amount represents a significant shot across the bow from the union — amounting to a 47 percent pay raise for some entry-level miners. Overall, the demand is a 39 percent rise from the average 9,000 rand per month that the lowest-paid levels of the workforce currently receive.

And it’s not just the lower end where the Amcu is seeking increased compensation. With the union also saying it wants a 15 percent pay increase for highly-skilled workers within its ranks.

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