The Chamber of Mines and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) are going to try to catch the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) unawares on Wednesday in wage negotiations in the gold mining sector.
On Friday, the NUM formally rejected the chamber’s offer of increases of R1 000 a month on the guaranteed income of mine workers. But this was a false rejection and only for show.
According to Dr Elise Strydom, the chamber’s chief negotiator, the NUM has already said, “by implication”, that it would consider the offer if the increases could be made part of mine workers’ basic income.
If that happens, the money value of the offer will in effect increase to R1 420 because the value of benefits adds about 42% to the value of the basic amount.
The four gold miners – Anglogold Ashanti [JSE:ANG], Sibanye Gold JSE:SGL], Harmony [JSE:HAR] and Evander Gold – have kept some cash aside because the chances of the unions accepting the original “final offer” is considered to be very slim.
The big test to prevent a strike at the country’s vulnerable gold mines will come with keeping the militant Amcu from striking.
Amcu demands a basic wage of R12 500 – 110% more than the basic entry-level wage of R5 700 a month.
The chamber is meeting with the gold producers and four unions – the NUM, Amcu, Solidarity and Uasa – on Wednesday. Mine bosses will try to give Amcu the bait at this meeting