AMCU: workers may back pay offer

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, South Africa's largest platinum mining labour union, said it may conclude a wage deal with producers as early as next week if "minor" outstanding issues can be resolved.

AMCU members may accept revised offers from Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Sibanye Gold, Jimmy Gama.

This is according to Jimmy Gama, the union's chief negotiator and treasurer. Settling the wage dispute without disruption could pave the way for Sibanye and Implats to resume paying dividends.

"There is a prospect for general acceptance from those workers we have met so far," Gama said on Thursday. "We will have a clearer picture next week after we have met the companies."

Gama declined to say what issues remained to be resolved. The largest platinum miners sought state-sponsored mediation last month in a bid to break an impasse in negotiations that started in June. AMCU led the nation's longest-ever platinum-mine strike in 2014.

Platinum giants seek mediation

Workers at Sibanye's Marikana platinum mines backed the company's latest wage offer, according to a Twitter post by AMCU. Further meetings at Sibanye are planned on Thursday, Gama said.

Implats said Tuesday that it had raised its wage offer to workers in a bid to break the deadlock. The company said it offered to boost minimum basic monthly pay by R1 100 over each of the next three years, compared with AMCU's demand for a R1 500 increase.

Investors will remain cautious about the prospects for concluding the three-year pay deal after AMCU led a five-month strike over wages at Sibanye's gold mines earlier this year. The terms of the settlement agreed in April were little changed from those earlier rejected by the labour union.

Above-inflation wage settlements and rising electricity costs "pose the greatest risk" to the profitability of South Africa's platinum miners, RMB Morgan Stanley analysts, including Christopher Nicholson, said in a note on Wednesday.

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