Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Revised Implats offer hoped to curtail strikes

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Saturday that Impala Platinum (Implats) had improved its wage offer in a bid to avert a strike at the world’s second-largest producer of the precious metal.

The union and Implats have been in talks since Friday, adding to a wave of disputes that have already disrupted operations in the mining and fuel sectors.

South Africa’s “strike season” is already expected to intensify when at least 145 000 municipal workers walk off the job on Monday, disrupting rubbish collection and other services in major cities.

Eddie Majadibodu, the NUM’s chief negotiator at Implats, said the company had raised its offer to between 8 and 10%, depending on category, from a previous offer of between 7, 5 and 8%. The NUM has been asking for a 14% raise for its 26 000 members at Implats.

“We are not happy. We are still looking for a double-digit increase across the board, but we will discuss this new offer with our members first,” he told Reuters.

Prolonged strike
A decision on the new offer is expected by Friday next week.

Should members reject the offer, the union will take the dispute to arbitration, Majadibodu said.

Implats and its bigger rival Anglo American Platinum account for two-thirds of global platinum supply and any prolonged strike could push prices higher. Wage talks with Amplats are scheduled for next week.

The NUM has reached wage raise deals of 7, 5 to 10% for its workers in the gold and coal sectors, with the figures expected to be benchmarks in the platinum talks.

The union said on Friday it had reached a three-year wage deal with junior platinum producer Royal Bafokeng Platinum, with pay increases ranging from 7 to 10%.

Sluggish recovery
Unions say employers should pass along the benefits of high precious metal prices to workers, who often have several dependents, facing higher food and fuel bills.

Employers have responded to increasing wage bills by shedding jobs and with a sluggish economic recovery, the outlook for a labour market suffering from 25% unemployment is not encouraging.

Economists warn wage settlements well above the current 5% inflation rate drive up the cost of a labour force already more expensive and less efficient than those in rival emerging economies.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC), in a governing alliance with labour, does not want to antagonise a group that has supplied it with millions of votes. — Reuters

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

South Africa must approach its energy transition pragmatically

A sensible climate policy must balance the imperative of decarbonisation, socioeconomic policy and security of supply considerations

Steel strike: Workers struck while the iron was hot

After almost three weeks, labour and employers have reached a deal — setting the steel industry back on its path to recovery

Why handing over ICC suspects could help Sudan’s transition

A failed coup in September, weeks of brinkmanship, and a looming crisis in eastern Sudan have laid bare tensions between civilians and military leaders

Phoenix activist takes on Durban’s politically connected in November polls

Independent candidates look set to play a greater role in the metro municipality after 1 November

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…