CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG, May 30 (Reuters) - South Africa’s leading platinum producers dismissed claims of tax evasion made by a union negotiator, with Anglo American Platinum, the biggest of the three, threatening legal action if they continued.
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) negotiator Brian Ashley made the allegations against Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin as a strike by around 70,000 AMCU workers nears its 19th week.
“We think that this has got to do with the process of transfer pricing or worse, mis-invoicing,” he told the Cape Town Press Club on Thursday, without detailing evidence.
Transfer pricing involves shifting profits into tax havens.
World no.1 producer Amplats threatened to take “appropriate legal measures” if the allegations continued, while Lonmin dismissed them as “completely false” and Implats as “inflammatory”.
New mining minister Ngaoko Ramatlhodi has assembled a government team to help negotiate a resolution to what is South Africa’s longest ever labour dispute.
AMCU brought an application to the labour court on Friday to stop the producers from communicating directly with union members.
AMCU is demanding a basic monthly wage for its members of 12,500 rand ($1,200) within three to four years while the companies have offered pay hikes of up to 10 percent that would reach that figure including other benefits by 2017. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf and Zandi Shabalala; editing by John Stonestreet)