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Aquarius platinum reaches wage pact

With NUM, without striking.

Aquarius Platinum and the biggest union at its operations reached an agreement over wages, the labour organisation’s second in a week without resorting to a strike.

Basic pay in some worker categories of the Perth, Australia-based company, will increase as much as 12% in first year and 11% in the second and third years, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said in an e- mailed statement.

On July 17, it signed a three-year pact with Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd. to raise basic salaries for almost 90% of its staff by as much as 10.5% annually.

The deals follow South Africa’s longest and costliest mining strike, where more than 70 000 employees stopped work for five months at the local operations of the world’s three biggest platinum producers.

The stoppage, which ended on June 24, was settled with increases in basic pay of as much as 20% and caused a contraction in the economy of the country that accounts for more than two-thirds of the world’s mined platinum. South Africa’s inflation rate was 6.6% in May.

The deal is effective from July 1 through June 30, 2017, the NUM said in an e-mailed statement. “The expectations are always very high from the employees to compete with other platinum producers.”

Founded 32 years ago and once South Africa’s biggest labor union, the NUM has watched its influence decline as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union gained a grip on the platinum belt northwest of Johannesburg.

Anglo American Platinum, Impala and Lonmin agreed with the Amuc to increases in basic wages for the lowest-paid workers of as much as R1 000 a month.

Aquarius shares ended the day 4.76% stronger, at R4.40.

©2014 Bloomberg News

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