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Published: Thursday June 12, 2014 MYT 5:50:03 PM
Updated: Thursday June 12, 2014 MYT 5:51:49 PM

South African union holds mass meeting in deadlocked platinum strike

RUSTENBURG South Africa (Reuters) - The leader of South Africa's AMCU mining union is due to meet with its members on Thursday to update them on the progress of wage talks with platinum producers after negotiations to end a crippling five-month strike deadlocked this week.

A union shop steward told Reuters that Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) President Joseph Mathunjwa would hold a meeting with thousands of striking miners at platinum mines near Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg.

Mathunjwa said on Monday no agreement had been reached with the world's top three platinum producers during government-mediated talks and there is no indication that he has changed his mind since then. [ID:nL5N0OQ2DS]

It is also unlikely that AMCU members will overrule his decision, despite the hardship they and their families are enduring.

About 70,000 AMCU members downed tools in January at mines run by Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin to demand that their basic wages be more than doubled to 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month.

Several rounds of negotiations have fallen apart, the latest on Monday when mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi quit as mediator, raising fears the longest mining strike in South Africa's history could drag on for months longer.

The companies say they are now "reviewing further options available to them", prompting analysts to predict potentially lengthy and risky legal battles.

(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Ed Cropley)

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