The gold mining sector on Wednesday began wage bargaining talks with labour unions, with the Minerals Council of South Africa urging all parties to act in the interest of the sustainability of the industry.
Gold producers, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony, Sibanye-Stillwater and Village Main Reef, and unions, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA are negotiating wage adjustment and other employment benefits for the current year.
“It is critical that the parties find common ground in the interest of the sustainability of our industry,”said Motsamai Motlhamme, the head of employment relations at the Minerals Council of South Africa.
The Minerals Council said in a statement current wage agreements came to an end at the end of June, and the new agreements will be back-dated to July 1, 2018.
The NUM is demanding a monthly pay of R9 500 for entry level surface workers, R10 500 for underground entry level and a 15% salary increase for officials. Spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said the first day of negotiations was dedicated to unions to present their demands.
He said the Minerals Council will have table its presentation next week Tuesday when the talks resume.
Solidarity General Secretary, Gideon du Plessis, said the union’s position was that salary increases and mining productivity must go hand in hand to create a win-win situation.
Wage negotiation are often fraught with disagreements, resulting in wage disputes being referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
The companies involved in the talks employ around 80,000 employees in the three bargaining units, which include miners and artisans and officials.