Amplats has agreed to new five-year wage deal, says union

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Anglo American Platinum, the world’s biggest platinum miner by market value, has agreed to a new five-year wage deal, according to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

The pivotal deal with the unit of Anglo American Plc could be signed this week and would be effective from July, said Jeff Mphahlele, general secretary for AMCU. About 163 000 workers in South Africa’s platinum industry have been pressing for a share of the record profits generated by a rally in metal prices.

"The agreement has been reached in-principle and we are about to sign the offer with Anglo,” Mphahlele said by phone. “We are just dealing with the final wording of the agreement itself."

Amplats is making "good progress with this year’s wage negotiations", spokesperson Nomonde Ndwalaza said. 

While platinum wage deals have been settled fairly smoothly during recent negotiating rounds, in 2014, AMCU led South Africa’s longest ever strike in the industry.

Amplats has agreed to give its workers a monthly increase of R1 100 in the first year of the deal, rising to R1 500 in the fifth year, Mphahlele said. AMCU has been holding joint negotiations with its former rival, the National Union of Mineworkers.

South Africa is the world’s top miner of platinum and rhodium, and is also the biggest palladium producer after Russia. The metals are key to curbing toxins from vehicle emissions.

Impala Platinum has also proposed a five-year wage deal and an agreement maybe reached soon, he said. 

Negotiations with Sibanye Stillwater's South African platinum mines will start on 1 June, Mphahlele added. Some of AMCU’s members have been on a wage strike at Sibanye’s three gold mines since March 10.

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