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SA platinum mine wage negotiations to start next week

Amcu is requesting a pay increase of as much as 48% as higher palladium and rhodium prices boost company earnings.
Platinum mining companies lined up to meet for negotiations include Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Sibanye Gold. Picture: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

South Africa’s largest platinum-mining labour union said it will meet the nation’s top three producers on successive days next week as it starts formal negotiations for a three-year wage deal.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union plans to meet Anglo American Platinum on July 9, followed by Impala Platinum on July 10 and Sibanye Gold the day after that, according to Secretary General Jeffrey Mphahlele. Amcu has asked for a pay increase of as much as 48% as higher palladium and rhodium prices boost company earnings, but some producers say that would lead to job losses and mine closures.

“We will provide clarity on the rationale for our wage demands and take questions,” Mphahlele said. “Thereafter we will wait for companies to give us their offers.”

Implats spokesman Johan Theron confirmed the meeting, while Amplats spokeswoman Jana Marais said the producer would meet with Amcu later this month. Sibanye has yet to finalise a date, said spokesman James Wellsted.

In 2014, Amcu led the longest ever platinum mining strike in the country, costing the sector about $2 billion in revenue. Investors would prefer if the negotiations were expedited, said Arnold Van Graan, an analyst at Nedcor Securities.

“Wage talks bring about uncertainty, which is bad for workers, communities and investors, so the sooner the uncertainty around wage talks is removed, the better for everyone,” he said.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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