Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT -

Wage ne­go­ti­a­tions in the gold sec­tor are ex­pected to start in May or June, with the cur­rent wage agree­ment ex­pir­ing at the end of June.

This year, An­gloGold Ashanti, Evan­der Gold Mines, Har­mony, Sibanye Gold and Vil­lage Main Reef will be rep­re­sented by the Cham­ber of Mines in cen­tralised wage ne­go­ti­a­tions, which cov­ers around 94 000 work­ers. Gold Fields broke with tra­di­tion when it signed an agree­ment with the NUM in April, out­side of the cen­tralised bar­gain­ing process.

Gold Fields agreed to pay the l ow­est earn­ers at South Deep, its only re­main­ing as­set in South Africa, in­creases of 21.46%, 14.76% and 12.97% per year re­spec­tively in the three-year deal, tak­ing the ba­sic cash wage to R9 000 a month. The to­tal cash value at the end of the three-year deal, which i ncludes other benefits, will be R16 238 a month, the NUM said.

While the Cham­ber was at pains to point out that South Deep, a mech­a­nised mine, has a sig­nif­i­cantly dif fer­ent op­er­at­ing model and labour pro­file (mech­a­nised mines t yp­i­cally em­ploy higher- skilled work­ers) than the rest of the lo­cal gold sec­tor, it will be dif­fi­cult for unions to set­tle for lower in­creases at other op­er­a­tions.

Amcu, which led a record-long strike in the plat­inum sec­tor, has also been steadily gain­ing mem­bers in the gold sec­tor, where it was still a mi­nor­ity union with limited rights dur­ing the last round of ne­go­ti­a­tions. The union is cur­rently in a dis­pute with the cham­ber over its membership num­bers, say­ing that it rep­re­sents nearly 40 000 work­ers. Ac­cord­ing to cham­ber data, dated end-Fe­bru­ary, the NUM rep­re­sents 54% of work­ers, Amcu 29%, United As­so­ci­a­tion of South Africa (Uasa) 2% and Sol­i­dar­ity 7%.

Work­ers com­mem­o­rate the sec­ond an­niver­sary of the Marikana massacre in Rusten­burg in Au­gust 2014.

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