South Africa’s biggest gold-mining labor union demanded a pay increase of more than 80% for entry- level underground workers, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
The National Union of Mineworkers wants basic pay for the lowest wage band to rise to R10 500 rand ($866) a month, the people said, asking not to be identified because the demands haven’t been made public. The NUM also wants all other gold employees to get a salary increase of at least 15% and an accommodation allowance of at least R3 500 rand a month, they said.
The union’s wage request far outstrips South Africa’s annual rate of inflation, which was 4% in March. The country’s gold-pay negotiations are due to start in June. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which last year led a five-month strike in South Africa’s platinum industry, will announce its demands for gold miners on Wednesday.
The Chamber of Mines has received the NUM’s request, according to Elize Strydom, chief negotiator at the organization that represents gold producers and conducts the talks.
“We are not in a position to discuss the detail of these demands because the chamber and unions will only engage each other at a formal plenary,” she said Tuesday by e-mail.
Charmane Russell, a spokeswoman for the chamber at Russell & Associates, declined to comment until negotiations begin.
Companies affected by the talks include AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Harmony Gold Mining Co. The NUM represents about 54% of the 94 000 employees at the three companies, which currently pay R5 790 a month to entry-level workers, according to the chamber.
South Africa is the world’s sixth-biggest gold producer.
©2015 Bloomberg News