Unions table demands ahead of gold sector wage negotiations

Wage negotiations in the gold sector to kickstart
Wage negotiations in the gold sector to kickstart
Image: RAJESH RAJENDRAN NAIR

The wage negotiation season is upon us once again the gold sector is kicking off its talks this Wednesday.

Unions in the sector will sit across the table from their mining sector negotiating counterparts as they thrash out a deal that will hopefully satisfy all parties.

The unions tabled their demands; some of them are as follows:  the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is calling for R9 500 for above the surface employees and R10 500.00 for its entry level underground staff. The union is also demanding a R5000.00 housing allowance. 

In a statement the union said “As the NUM, we have always maintained that wages in the mining sector remained (are) too low, and that was as a result of apartheid legacy when the black mining labour force was ruthlessly exploited. The NUM also maintained that our average member typically has ten dependants, straining their ability to provide for their families.”

On the other hand UASA will join the negotiating table with a 15% wage increase demand. UASA’s lead negotiator Franz Stehring said the union is looking for a salary increase and not an adjustment. Stehring said mining companies should walk into the negotiations mindful of that.

“One shouldn’t be confused between an adjustment and a salary increase,” Stehring warned the mining companies.

The mining companies will be represented by the Minerals Council South Africa at the talks to be held at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg.

“Tomorrow’s session is for the unions to motivate their demands which have been submitted and in the interests of disclosure these have been made available. The companies are likely to respond thereafter. This is likely to take place next week or the week thereafter,” said the gold producer’s spokesperson Memory Johnstone.

Other unions taking part in the negotiations will be Solidarity and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

Solidarity’s Gideon Du Plessis could not be reached on his phone while AMCU’s Joseph Mathunjwa had earlier in the day promised us an interview but was nowhere to be found when the Sowetan called him at the agreed time.

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