JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Friday said that it had brought certainty to the platinum industry after signing a three-year wage deal with South Africa’s biggest platinum producers.
Amcu signed the pay agreement with Sibanye-Stillwater, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum in Johannesburg following four months of talks. At the signing ceremony, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the wage agreement had been concluded without a strike.
He said the agreement meant that the basic salary of the lowest-paid worker would be hiked by R1000. He said that the hike would amount to R5.7billion over three years for 160000 employees in the platinum industry.
“Amcu has been labelled as an irresponsible union that is not sensitive to the interests of the country. Surely, the president will give a round of applause to the union and companies for concluding the wage agreement without a strike,” said Mathunjwa.
Amcu led 70000 members in a five-month wage strike in the platinum belt in 2014. It also led a five-month wage strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold assets, which ended in April.
The wage deal is significant, given that Sibanye-Stillwater had initially offered a wage increase of R300 at the Marikana and Rustenburg operations.
Sibanye-Stillwater said on Friday that it had signed the agreement with Amcu and the United Association of South Africa (Uasa) with respect to the Rustenburg operation, in respect of wages and conditions of service for the period July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2022, at its Rustenburg and Marikana operations.
Sibanye-Stillwater, which took over the Marikana operation after acquiring Lonmin, said it had agreed to a R1000 monthly hike, or 5percent, whichever was greater, for the basic wage of category 4 to 9 surface and underground employees for the Marikana and Rustenburg operations for each of the three years.
Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive Neal Froneman said the wage agreement had taken into account the longer-term sustainability of its operations.
“It is encouraging that the negotiations were conducted in a constructive manner without any disruption,” said Froneman.
Amcu had initially demanded a 45percent wage hike to R17500 a month. It later backtracked and demanded a R1500 increase, before settling for R1000.
Anglo American Platinum said the wage deal would hike the cost to company by 7.4percent in the first year, 6.1percent in the second year and 6.3percent in the third year, or by an average of 6.6percent on average over three years.
Anglo American Platinum chief executive Chris Griffith said the group would ensure the sustainability of the business.
“We believe this agreement will ensure the business can remain sustainable through the typical PGM price cycles, while our employees will benefit from meaningful pay and other increases,” Griffith said.
Impala Platinum group executive: people, Lee-Ann Samuel, said the wage deal was both fair and sustainable and that it took into account the inflationary pressures of employees.
“The wage negotiation process, while undoubtedly robust, was conducted in a respectful and amicable manner, and is a testament to how our relationship with Amcu has developed,” said Samuel.