Unions reject 4% wage offer from gold producers

South African trade unions representing gold mining employees dismissed a proposal to increase wages by 4%, increasing the prospects of a further deterioration in labour relations.

“We totally reject it,” Lesiba Seshoka, a spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents 64% of gold mining employees, said by telephone on Monday. “The chamber is setting the scene for confrontation.”

The Chamber of Mines, which negotiates on behalf of gold mining companies including AngloGold Ashanti and Sibanye Gold, offered employees a 4% rise in basic pay and housing allowances that would bring guaranteed wages for entry-level workers to R8 900 ($900) per month.

Labour groups and the chamber will reconvene on July 24th to discuss the offer, which is below South Africa’s 5.6% inflation rate.

“In terms of the spirit of negotiation to find a solution, this is not an offer that we can take to our members,” said Franz Stehring, head of mining at trade union Uasa, which represents 6.9% of gold miners.


The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which represents 17.2% of employees, is awaiting a better offer, general secretary Jeff Mphahlele said by phone.

Wage increases demanded
Amcu demanded that underground workers’ pay should be more than doubled with a minimum entry-level salary of R12 500 a month. The NUM is asking for wage increases of as much as 61%.

The consequences of companies acceding to the unions’ demands would be “dire”, Elize Strydom, chief negotiator at the Chamber of Mines, said on a call with reporters. “The future of the industry is at stake.”

The gold price has dropped 32% from its high of $1 900 per ounce in September 2011, including a record three-month fall in the second quarter. About 60% of gold mining operations are unprofitable at the current gold price of $1  285 per ounce with the figure increasing to 100% if capital expenditure is included, Strydom said.

“We need to do what we need to do to be responsible, be good leaders, look after our industry, and look after our employees’ best interests,” she said. “The offer we made was never meant to be confrontational.” – Bloomberg

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Eskom must lead the energy shift

Any plans to change from coal-fired power to renewable and affordable electricity must include turning the power utility into a true public entity

‘More needed’ for miners to work again

Amcu and experts agree that mineworkers and their communities face a unique risk without a detailed response to Covid-19 from the sector

Amcu deputy president gets the axe

Meanwhile the union’s registration is once again in jeopardy, this time over the union’s finances and the legitimacy of its leadership

Unions vow to push ‘battle for survival’ at SAA

The Labour Court dismisses an application by Numsa and Sacca to have planned job cuts at SAA scrapped

Cyril’s style is to inspire the nation

His visionary pragmatism and his aim – together with SA’s citizens — is to build a capable state

Blyvooruitzicht: A glimmer of hope between the sewage, rats and fear

‘Thrown away like rubbish’ — Residents of what was once a rich mining town have survived the seven years since the mine closed
Advertising

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

White men still rule and earn more

Women and black people occupy only a few seats at the JSE table, the latest PwC report has found

The PPE scandal that the Treasury hasn’t touched

Many government officials have been talking tough about dealing with rampant corruption in PPE procurement but the majority won't even release names of who has benefited from the R10-billion spend

ANC still at odds over how to tackle leaders facing...

The ANC’s top six has been mandated to work closely with its integrity committee to tackle claims of corruption against senior party members
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday