Platinum workers to strike over pay in SA

<p>South African platinum workers are set to go on strike.</p>

Investors will be keeping a close eye on the value of platinum in the coming days after workers in South African mines called a strike over their pay.

The largest union in the country's platinum sector revealed that the strike will take place today (January 23rd), with some of the world's biggest platinum producers to be affected as a result.

However, a separately planned strike by gold workers in South Africa has been cancelled following the release of a court ruling, BBC News reports.

Judge Hamilton Cele announced that a decision will be made on January 30th over whether the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) strike will be "protected" – which means whether or not workers will be able to strike without being dismissed or disciplined.

Anglo American, Impala and Lonmin Platinum have all been informed by Amcu of the strike in advance, but the firms claim they are not able to afford the pay increases that have been demanded by the union.

Pay demand

Amcu wants the companies to pay miners a "living wage" of about 12,500 rand (£690), which would be more than double their current pay if it was introduced by the firms.

The union took over representation of South Africa's platinum workers two years ago in the wake of the Marikana massacre, when dozens of people were killed by police after taking part in an illegal wage protest.

South Africa is one of the biggest metals producers in the world, so any disruption to the mines in the country is likely to have an impact on the value of gold and platinum.

The nation is the world's fourth biggest exporter of gold, while it also has around 80 per cent of the planet's known reserves of platinum.

Gold's price has seen a resurgence over the course of the last few weeks, rising to a new six-week high earlier in the week. This is after the value of the precious metal slipped by around a third over the course of last year, affecting its reputation as the main safe haven for investors.

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