South32 and Numsa reach wage deal

Johannesburg – A wage settlement has been reached between South32 and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), ending the strike at its smelter in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

A two-year deal has been reached for employees at the Hillside Aluminium smelter, South32 confirmed in a statement on Friday.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Numsa which supports the long term sustainability of our Hillside operation while also preserving jobs,” said president and Chief Operating Officer for South32 Africa Region, Mike Fraser.

“This agreement supports our goal of managing controllable costs at Hillside and has laid a foundation to work with Numsa to jointly identify opportunities to reduce labour costs.”

According to Numsa, 600 of its members went on strike last week. “One of the sticking points was the fact that the company was offering a cash payout instead of a wage increase in the second year of the wage proposal, which is something our members were vehemently opposed to,” explained acting national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi.

“Our members were demanding a wage increase because it would have a meaningful impact for them and their families. A cash payout would have left them financially worse off.”

Members have agreed to a 5.1% increase for all workers except drivers, who will get a 5.6% increase for the first year.

An increase in line with inflation is agreed to for the second year. However the increase will be 5.1% if inflation is lower than that.

Drivers will receive a sign on bonus of R10 000, and that for employees will be R7 000.

This agreement comes into effect on September 1, 2017 and will end on August 31, 2019.

“Our members are satisfied that this compromise deals with their primary concerns regarding their total package,” said Hlubi.

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