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Gold Sector Wage Negotiations: Mining unions reject latest offer

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Four unions have rejected the latest wage offer by Harmony, Sibanye-Stillwater, Village Main Reef and AngloGold Ashanti.

Workers’ Unions in the mining sector have rejected the latest wage offer by employers. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, Solidarity (AMCU) and UASA were locked in meetings with Harmony, Sibanye-Stillwater, Village Main Reef and AngloGold Ashanti on Wednesday, 25 July 2018.

The Unions are remaining firm in their demand for salary hikes and improved benefits from the top gold producers. NUM is demanding a 15% salary hike for miners and artisans, a minimum of R9,500 for surface workers and R10 500 for underground workers. “The mandate from NUM members is that the offers in their current form are totally rejected”, union spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said in a statement. AMCU is demanding a minimum wage of R12,500 for workers as well an increase in benefits ranging from severance pay to transport costs and longer maternity leave. The union also wants the regular five-day work week to replace the shift system.

Other demands include meal, transport and housing allowances. The gold industry tabled offers ranging from 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent for underground employees, and three to 4.5 percent for miners and artisans, and officials.

The wage talks come at a time when the mining giants are under immense scrutiny over their safety standards, or lack thereof. This after scores of mining fatalities have been recorded, with the Department of Mineral Resources putting the number of mine-related fatalities at 51 – this year alone. The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research unveiled three mining safety technologies on Wednesday, which will seek to assess the risks underground, a bid by government to curb additional mining deaths by 2020.

Both the unions and employers are expected to meet again next week Wednesday.

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