May 14 - 1,000 strikers have gathered outside Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in South Africa preventing workers from breaking the longest and costliest bout of industrial action in the sector's history. As Hayley Platt reports the strike has halted 40 percent of normal global output.
Lonmin had been hoping to see the beginning of the end of the four month mining strike in South Africa on Wednesday. The company's been text messaging staff urging them to return But instead around 1,000 AMCU union members blocked the entrance to the Marikana mine, refusing to be broken. Joseph Mathunjwa is their President. (SOUNDBITE) ( Xhosa) ASSOCIATION OF MINEWORKERS AND CONSTRUCTION UNION (AMCU) PRESIDENT, JOSEPH MATHUNJWA, SAYING: "I don't have any regrets and I am not apologetic - our position is correct Comrades because the purpose of these employers is to starve you to death, They will never break our spirits by taking the wage offer directly to miners via text messages" Several employees have been killed trying to return to work. The AMCU has been accused of intimidation. And police are threatening to arrest those behind the harassment. The union is still insisting on a near doubling of wages over 4 years. But the three mining companies involved have only offered 10 percent. Robert Besseling is from IHS. SOUNDBITE: Dr. Robert Besseling, IHS, saying (English): "A lot of people have been surprised that this strike has been able to carry on for so long. And that is especially because this union is able to retain discipline within its ranks." The strike has already halted 40 percent of normal global output. And the longer term implications could be huge. SOUNDBITE: Dr. Robert Besseling, IHS, saying (English): "All three of them have indicated that they will be closing mines later this year, have indicated mass retrenchments and that they will be placing more mine shafts on care and maintenance going forward." Meetings between the AMCU, Implats and Amplats are taking place. The latest development added 1.2% to platinum's spot price - it's highest level in four weeks.