WAGE NEGOTIATIONS TO BEGIN
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.