NUM, Aquarius agree on wages

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Aquarius Platinum and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the biggest union at its operations, have reached a three-year wage agreement.

Basic pay in some worker categories at the company would increase by as much as 12 percent in the first year and 11 percent in the second and third years, the NUM said.

On Thursday the union signed a three-year pact with Royal Bafokeng Platinum to raise basic salaries for almost 90 percent of its staff by as much as 10.5 percent a year.

The deals follow South Africa’s longest and costliest mining strike, during which more than 70 000 employees stopped work for five months at the key local operations of the three biggest platinum producers: Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin.

The stoppage, which ended on June 24, was settled with increases in basic pay of as much as 20 percent and caused a contraction in the economy. The consumer inflation rate was 6.6 percent in May.

The deal with Aquarius was effective from July 1 and would run to June 30, 2017, NUM said.

“The expectations are always very high from the employees to compete with other platinum producers,” it said.

Founded 32 years ago and once South Africa’s biggest union, the NUM’s influence has declined as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has gained a grip on the platinum belt northwest of Johannesburg.

Amplats, Implats and Lonmin agreed with Amcu to increases in basic monthly salaries for the lowest-paid workers of as much as R1 000.

Aquarius shares surged 4.76 percent to close at R4.40 on the JSE yesterday.

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