Amcu snubs higher wage offer

File photo of Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. (Lucas Ledwaba/City Press)
File photo of Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. (Lucas Ledwaba/City Press)

Johannesburg - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has rejected a pay offer made by operators including world No 3 producer AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG], stopping short of calling a strike.

Amcu members gathered at a mass meeting at Sibanye Gold’s [JSE:SGL] Beatrix mine on Sunday to consider the final wage proposal tabled by producers, including Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR]. The union speaks for about 30% of the 94 500 employees represented in the talks.

“If we need to go march at their offices we will,” Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa told thousands of workers who gathered at the stadium next to a mine shaft about 300 kilometres south of Johannesburg.

AngloGold and Sibanye proposed on July 30 to raise monthly pay for entry-level workers by R1 000 annually for the three years started July 1. Harmony offered a R500 increase. Basic pay is currently about R5 800. Living-out allowances will be raised by R100 in the first year from R2 000 now.

The crowd on Sunday held banners with Amcu’s demand of R12 500 a month for basic pay, more than double the current wage. Only one of the union leaders from the mines who provided feedback on the stage said workers should take the offer.

The National Union of Mineworkers, the biggest labour group in gold, lowered its demand last month for basic pay to R9 500. However, that is at least 60% more than the current wage.

“The way forward is go back to (the) employer and give them the feedback that their offer has been rejected by the majority of Amcu members,” Mathunjwa told reporters after the meeting. The union will meet again after it hears back from the companies, he said.

The NUM, Solidarity and Uasa unions will respond to the wage proposal by August 7, Chamber of Mines chief negotiator Elize Strydom told reporters on Friday. The companies have said their last offer is final.

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