South Africa's platinum mining firms, top union seal wage deal

November 15, 2019

Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Sibanye-Stillwater reached an agreement for a three-year wage hike agreement with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), South Africa’s largest platinum mining union.

Reuters reported that the deal ends months of negotiation over pay and comes as a relief to the sector, where officials were fearful of a repeat of a five-month platinum strike in 2014-2015 which crippled production and hurt the economy. 

AMCU union president Joseph Mathunjwa said increased workers’ monthly wages by at least 1,000 rand ($67.19).

AMCU had been in wage talks with the country’s top platinum miners since June, and in October referred the dispute with Amplats and Sibanye-Stillwater to a government mediation body.

“It has never been an easy journey ... but we managed to come to this day where we are all smiling,” said Jimmy Gama, AMCU’s chief negotiator, thanking the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for its role in the deal.

Union members wearing green AMCU polo shirts sang, clapped, and danced as Mathunjwa signed the agreements with representatives from the country’s top platinum producers at a ceremony in Johannesburg.

Nico van Rooyen, sector manager at smaller union UASA that was also involved in the wage talks, said the deal was the culmination of a “titanic battle.”

Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, said: “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement, and we welcome the collaborative and constructive engagements with the unions throughout the process. We believe this agreement will ensure the business can remain sustainable through the typical PGM price cycles, while our employees will benefit from meaningful pay and other increases.”

“It is encouraging that the negotiations were conducted in a constructive manner without any disruption,” Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said in a statement.

Both Sibanye-Stillwater and Anglo American Platinum agreed to increase workers’ wages by 1,000 rand a month.

Photo: Workers at Anglo American Platinum’s Dishaba Mine, South Africa. Credit Anglo American Platinum.

 

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