Solidarity trade union
general secretary
Gideon du Plessis
Johannesburg, South Africa — 12 September 2013 – The two-year wage agreement signed this week between producers and trade unions in the South African gold industry, represents a victory for collective bargaining and labour relations.

So says Solidarity trade union general secretary Gideon du Plessis, who added: “The negotiations took place against the backdrop of violent unprotected strikes and immense pressure in the gold industry,” reports Fin24.

“The agreement is not satisfactory for trade unions or employers, but is indicative of compromises that both parties had to make in order to put the sustainability of the gold industry first.”

On Tuesday, the Chamber of Mines, representing gold producers, signed a wage agreement with Solidarity, UASA and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Du Plessis said the agreement could be the turning point that puts the gold industry on the winning path, after the chamber and trade unions "rose above their differences" to sign the agreement.

The three unions that signed represent about 72% of workers. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which represents 19% of workers did not sign.

AMCU treasurer Jimmy Gama said the union would have a meeting with the Chamber of Mines on Friday. “We will serve a strike notice if talks deadlock on Friday,” he said.

In terms of the agreement, category four and five employees and rock drill operators would receive an 8% increase and other employees a 7.5 % increase from July 1. In July 2014, employees will receive a consumer price index-linked increase.

The current monthly living out allowance of R1,640 would increase to R2,000 in two R180 steps, on September 1, 2013, and again in 2014.

Gold producers’ spokesperson Charmane Russell said they would continue to meet with AMCU to discuss the implementation of the wage agreement, as well as the detail and implications for all employees and the role that AMCU could play in the implementation of the various clauses of the agreement.
Caption, Pic 1: Solidarity trade union general secretary Gideon du Plessis.

Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.