WHAT THE STRIKE ACHIEVED FOR AMCU MEM­BERS: WORTH IT IN THE LONG TERM?

Finweek English Edition - - COVER -

At the out­set of the strike, Amcu de­manded a ba­sic pay – which in­cludes hol­i­day and ac­com­mo­da­tion al­lowances – of R12 500 per month for all en­try-level work­ers. Five months later, the out­come was that low­est-paid work­ers will re­ceive a R1 000 per month in­crease for three years. As­sum­ing a base salary of R5 500 per month, this equates to an 18% in­crease. This is be­low the per­cent­age of in­crease Amcu de­manded in the R12 500 per month po­si­tion, but far in ex­cess of any­thing achieved by the NUM.

How­ever, this was achieved by shift­ing in­creases from to­tal guar­an­teed pay, which in­cludes med­i­cal and re­tire­ment al­lowances, ef­fec­tively front-load­ing the pack­age so work­ers were granted greater up-front cash in pocket in re­turn for lesser long-term, non-cash ben­e­fits. In the case of Am­plats, its to­tal cost-to-com­pany in­creases al­lowed in the three-year set­tle­ment is 10.5% in the first year, fall­ing to 7.7% and 7.1% in years two and three.

On ag­gre­gate, this is equal to an aver­age 8.4% over a three-year pe­riod, pretty much in line with that granted to mem­bers of the Na­tional Union of Minework­ers fol­low­ing its 11-week strike at Northam Plat­inum in which the com­pany lost R750m in rev­enue. Most im­por­tantly, it will take un­til June 2015, roughly 12 months at best, be­fore the cost of the strike is re­couped by strik­ing work­ers.

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