/ 27 August 2013

Gold mines table final wage offer of 6.5%

Business reporter Lisa Steyn explains the high salaries of mine bosses and how it impacts on wage negotiations.
Business reporter Lisa Steyn explains the high salaries of mine bosses and how it impacts on wage negotiations.

The Chamber of Mines said on Tuesday that AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Rand Uranium, Harmony Gold, Evander Gold, Sibanye Gold, and Village Main Reef were offering a basic increase of 6.5% for category four and five employees, including rock drill operators.

"An offer of 6% on basic wage has been made to category six to eight, as well as to miners and artisans, and officials."

In addition, accommodation allowances would be increased in accordance with the consumer price index.

The offers have been made to the unions engaged in negotiations under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), including the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and Solidarity, the chamber said in a statement.

Also included were unions in possession of certificates of non-resolution, these being the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the United Association of South Africa.

‘Gain share’ proposal
Additionally, employers had offered all employees within the bargaining unit the opportunity to earn an additional 1% on basic wages by way of a 'gain share' proposal.

"Harmony Gold is proposing a continuation of the 1% profit share agreement, and Rand Uranium has offered a 0.5% 'gain share'," the chamber said.

"It is proposed that each of the companies will develop a 'gain share' proposal in line with the company's objectives and maturity, which may be gold price, profit, revenue, gold produced or cost-related."

The offer made by the gold mining companies was for a two-year period, with the same increase offered for the second year.

Elize Strydom, chief negotiator for the gold producers, reiterated that the gold industry remained in a perilous financial position, and could ill-afford further increases or industrial action.

"We need a sustainable agreement that will preserve our mines, and consequently jobs," she said.

"At an entry level, this increase translates into guaranteed remuneration of R9 170 per month."

The NUM was preparing to go on strike in the gold mining sector after wage negotiations deadlocked last week. It was demanding R7 000 a month for surface workers and R8 000 a month for underground workers.

Solidarity said earlier on Tuesday that it could settle for an 8.3% wage increase. – Sapa