amcu thumb medium80 81Dewald van Rensburg analyses the wage deals signed last week by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) with platinum producers Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin.  

He says the three-year deals are moderate by the sector’s standards and mark Amcu’s first wage round in the sector without a strike of historic proportions taking place.  Like the deal that ended the five-month platinum strike in 2014, it gives workers a relatively high basic wage increase – but at the cost of their other benefits.  The deals with the three companies differ in relatively minor ways, but all feature the same core increase to the basic wage: R1,000 per year for three years.  Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said at the Lonmin signing that the increases were “way above inflation”.  In reality, however, the wage deal represents a relatively small premium over inflation if the low benefit increases and 7% increase for higher-level employees are factored in.  At Amplats, the deal translated into a cost-to-company increase in the wage bill of, on average, 6.74% over the next three years, which is barely above inflation.  “For us, what matters is the total cost to company,” said Implats spokesperson Johan Theron.  For the NUM, “the entire wage agreement is a big loss to poor mine workers, who are being made to believe they have achieved a lot”.


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