Gold talks go to CCMA as Amcu brings up thorny overtime issue
In the process, the union is capitalising on what it calls unreasonable compromises in working hours that its rival, the National Union of Mineworkers, has agreed to since 2000.
Amcu’s claim concerns the alleged practice of “disguising” overtime payments on payslips as an allowance called a “risk premium”. At AngloGold Ashanti mines, for which the union has the best information, this premium amounts to three hours’ overtime a week, bringing the normal 45 hours’ work up to the mines’ traditional 48-hour week, says Amcu.
According to the union’s consulting economist, Dick Forslund, this “premium” is really a way to hide the fact that the mines pay only three hours’ overtime a week when in reality mine workers generally clock 10 hours more than the legal definition of “normal hours”.
According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, every hour above normal hours should be paid at 1.5 times the normal rate.
Using an average of 10 hours as the presumed overtime per worker each week, this led Amcu to conclude that the mines have underpaid overtime of about R10 billion under the wage deal signed in 2013.
The chamber issued two short statements, one rejecting Amcu’s claims as “spurious” and the other announcing it would now revert to a lower earlier offer as the talks go to the CCMA.
Responding to City Press’ questions, the chamber