Johannesburg - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) made a new wage offer to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Thursday in a bid to end the strike in the platinum sector.
“The proposed increases will ensure that the minimum cash remuneration (comprising basic wages and holiday, living out and other allowances) for entry level underground employees will rise to R12,500 per month (R150,000 per annum) by July 2017,” the company said in a statement.
“To achieve this, the cash remuneration for the employees would rise between 7.5 percent and 10 percent across the various bands of employees, with relevant allowances rising in line with inflation.”
Amplats said it was important to note that by implementing the increases by July 2017, the cost to company for the lowest paid underground employee would be in excess of R 17,500 per month and R210,000 per annum.
It said the cost to company included cash remuneration, medical, retirement, overtime and bonus provisions.
Amcu members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum downed tools on January 23 to push for a basic monthly salary of R12,500.
They had so far rejected a wage increase of up to nine percent.
The companies, in turn, rejected Amcu's revised demand that the R12,500 could be achieved over four years.
Amplats said on Thursday that the new offer was tabled after engagements with Amcu and its president Joseph Mathunjwa.
Amplats said the longer term issues such as labour migrancy and living conditions would be handled through company-level joint task teams.
“The company notes that it can ill afford the revised settlement offer, which represents an increase from the 7.5 percent to nine percent CCMA offer, and the 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent offer made prior to the commencement of the strike,” Amplats said.
“These concessions have been made by the company in good faith through various attempts over the last two months to end this industrial action.”
It said labour costs accounted for approximately 55 to 60 percent of the annual production costs.
It said “unsustainable increases” in these costs would be “catastrophic to the future viability of the industry”.
The settlement offer was made in the interest of bringing an end to the strike that had crippled the platinum sector, Amplats said.
“The offer currently includes the payment of back pay related to the annual increase. This takes effect from 1 July 2013 for Anglo American Platinum employees. The principle of ‘no work, no pay’ applies for the duration of the strike,” it said.
“To date, the company has lost approximately 225,373 ounces of platinum in the 12-week strike, equivalent to revenue of around R 5.8 billion.”
Amplats urged Amcu to consider the offer.
Talks in the platinum sector with Amcu are scheduled for Tuesday next week.
Amcu was not immediately available for comment. - Sapa