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