The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has declared disputes with Harmony Gold, Sibanye Stillwater and Village Main Reef, union president Joseph Mathunjwa said on Tuesday.
“All three of these mining companies are offering three-year wage agreements. All three are offering increases of R625 for year one, R650 for year two and R675 for year three, – to workers’ category 4-8. Living out allowance is set at R100 increase and only for year one,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.
“The lack of movement has left us with no other choice than to declare a deadlock and refer the matter for conciliation at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration [CCMA].”
The conciliation was expected to resume on September 12.
Mathunjwa said their wage talks with Anglo Gold Ashanti has been more progressive.
“The reason is that they are making tangible offers which seek to meet our demands. Anglo Gold Ashanti is also offering a three-year agreement. Its last offer for category 4-8 workers stands at an increase of R800 during year one, R900 in year two and R1000 in the third year. Living out allowance increases on offer are R100 for each of the three years,” he said.
“The position of Amcu has always been that R12,500 should be the minimum basic salary of workers, and their living out allowance should not be less than R4000 per month. We truly believe that this can be attained over the coming three years.”
He said if the conciliation process fails, a strike would be the union’s last resort.
“However, we are prepared to engage in disciplined and focused industrial action to drive home our point, if there is a lack of understanding,” he said.
“Notably, these mines have been killing workers on an almost daily basis because they save on investment in safety. They still enjoy hyper-profits, and their bosses still get exorbitant bonuses on the back of the sweat of our member.”
Mathunjwa said union members in the platinum sector were in better conditions as compared to their colleagues in the gold sector.
“This credit is attributed to Amcu being resolute in its fights for a living wage and decent working conditions. Practically, this means that the lowest paid employee working underground in the gold sector currently earns a basic salary of R6,900, whereas the same employee in platinum earns R11,000. That calculates to a difference of R4,100 or almost 40 per cent,” he said.