Platinum wage deal: Devil in the detail

Johannesburg - Platinum producers hope they and Amcu will meet soon to finalise an agreement to end the nearly five-month-old strike in the platinum mining sector, Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP] said on Tuesday.

"Obviously we have been in contact with them, being Amcu, over the weekend but we haven't had a formal engagement which I'm sure we will have very soon," spokesperson Johan Theron said.

"The only outstanding thing is to resolve the details, since the major matters appear to have been agreed to.

"Little details can often be a barrier to coming to an agreement but hopefully we will conclude negotiations as soon as possible."

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members at Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum [JSE:AMS], and Lonmin [JSE:LON] went on strike on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

Platinum producers proposed to increase the salary of the lowest paid workers by R1 000 for two years and R950 in the third year. This excluded other benefits.

The salaries of officials, artisans, and miners would increase by 8% in the first year and by 7.5% for the remaining two years.

The proposed settlement was for three years.

Living-out allowances would not be increased for the duration of the settlement. Pension fund contributions, overtime, holiday leave, and shift allowances would be increased annually based on the consumer price index (CPI).

The companies also promised to pay workers backpay within seven working days of them returning to work. The backpay was for the period prior to the strike.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa and Charmane Russell, for the producers, could not be reached for comment.

Amcu treasurer Jimmy Gama could also not be reached for comment.

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