Dineo Faku

Kumba Iron Ore had signed a three-year deal with trade unions in which staff salaries would be hiked by between 8.5 percent and 10 percent, the mining house said yesterday.

Kumba, a unit of Anglo American, said it had signed the deal with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Solidarity following negotiations that started in June.

The agreement is effective from July 1 until June 30, 2017 and means that employees will receive increases of between 8.5 percent and 10 percent in the first two years and between 7.5 percent and 9 percent in the third year.

The NUM said the three-year agreement would take total guaranteed earnings to R13 443 in the third year from R8 971.

“Negotiations were very interesting and this confirms that our members in Kumba still have faith and confidence in NUM. We look forward to servicing them. NUM is here to stay,” said Lucas Phiri, NUM’s chief negotiator at Kumba.

Phiri said staff would receive their next portion of the company’s share ownership scheme in five years.

About 6 209 of Kumba’s permanent employees below management level received R500 000 each in December 2011, the first maturity date of the Envision share scheme.

Kumba spokesman Gert Schoeman said 7 000 employees in the bargaining unit would benefit from the deal and the salary rise would be 17 percent for the lowest-paid employees.

“While robust and challenging, this demonstrates that the bargaining system is sound and capable of delivering negotiated agreements that take the needs and priorities of all parties into account,” Norman Mbazima, Kumba’s chief executive, said in a statement.

According to Deon Reyneke, the head of mining at Solidarity, this agreement was even more favourable than Solidarity’s mandate from its members.

“The agreement constitutes the outcome of successful negotiations and is undoubtedly the best we could do for our members. The agreed increase is 0.5 percentage points more than the mandate of 8 percent we received from our members,” Reyneke explained.

The Kumba deal follows closely the wage deals signed by black-owned Royal Bafokeng Platinum and junior platinum producer Aquarius Platinum with its recognised labour unions earlier this month.

Prior to that, the three major platinum producers signed a three-year wage deal with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, ending a five-month strike in the platinum belt on June 24.

Solidarity said the deal included housing allowances, employee contributions to pension funds, overtime for standby call-outs and family and sick leave.

Kumba shares shed 1.04 percent yesterday to R375.04.