Johannesburg, South Africa — 25 July 2013 – Both the trade unions and the gold producers say that the current wage negotiations in the gold mining industry will be moving to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

“The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity, and UASA have declared a dispute, and have referred the matter to the CCMA for mediation,” a gold producers’ spokesperson said, according to Fin24.  

“This will give the parties an opportunity to engage, with the assistance of a mediator, for around a 30-day period.”

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the fourth union involved in the negotiations, has requested additional information, to which the producers would respond, she said.

Last week the producers “’ AngloGold Ashanti, Evander Gold Mine, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold, Rand Uranium, Sibanye Gold, and Village Main Reef “’ proposed a 4% pay rise for workers in the opening round of this year’s wage talks.

Ahead of yesterday’s talks, NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the 4% increase was not enough. “We have rejected that 4% with the contempt that it deserves.”

The NUM wanted surface workers to earn a minimum of R7,000 a month and underground and open-cast workers R8,000 a month.

During yesterday’s negotiations, the producers raised the increase to 5% in respect of wages and benefits.

“The effect of this offer would be to raise the guaranteed pay of entry-level underground employees for major gold-producing companies to at least R9,000 per month,” the producers’ spokesperson said.

“These figures include basic wage, living-out allowance, medical benefit and retirement contribution and exclude statutory benefits, other allowances, profit share, overtime and bonuses.”

Despite the increase, three of the four negotiating unions declared a dispute.

We are referring this to the CCMA immediately. If we don’t agree there, we will strike,” Seshoka said.

Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis said in a statement the union believed wage negotiations in the gold industry this year would gain momentum only if a facilitation process was followed.

The latest declaration by the unions means that two-week-old salary talks, labelled as the toughest since the end of apartheid in 1994, will now be held up by a 30-day process of mediation that could end in an industry-wide strike.

Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.