South African union demands 60% pay increase

SOUTH Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers will seek 60% pay hikes from coal and gold companies at this year’s wage talks.
South African union demands 60% pay increase South African union demands 60% pay increase South African union demands 60% pay increase South African union demands 60% pay increase South African union demands 60% pay increase

 

Staff Reporter

The union said in a submission to the Chamber of Mines that it would seek an entry-level minimum monthly wage of $R7000 ($US742) for surface staff and $R8000 ($US848) for underground workers, according to a Reuters report.

The current minimum wage is $R5000 ($US530) a month.

NUM also said it wanted 15% increases for "all other wage categories," meaning more experienced and skilled workers, according to Reuters.

A date for the talks has not yet been set, but they are scheduled to be held some time next month in Johannesburg.

As of May 20, the NUM demands are being attributed as a cause for the decline in the value of the South African rand, which dropped to a four-year low of 9.5% against the US dollar.

Managing director at financial consultancy ETM Analytics, George Glynos, told Reuters that the country’s current high inflation, low company margins and threats of strike action were making South Africa economically vulnerable.

"Commodity prices are retreating, you have wage negotiations which look like they are turning pear-shaped even before they have begun, and all that on top of a fragile economy," he said.

South Africa’s mining industry has been the scene of protracted struggles since mid-2012 when a series of wildcat and protected work stoppages crippled production throughout the country.

Not many companies were immune from the spate of industrial unrest at the country’s mines last year.

At the height of the disorder, violence between striking miners and police at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in the country’s northwest province led to the deaths of about 44 people while more than 70 were injured.

AngloGold Ashanti was another major impacted by the widespread unrest, with strike action taking place at six of its mines last September.

Anglo American was hit hard by the strike action, which impacted on platinum and iron ore output.

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