GOLD WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Solidarity has changed its salary demand to an increase of the CPI plus 4% in response to the Minerals Council South Africa’s offer which ranges from between 3,5% and 4,5%.

During the fourth round of salary negotiations in the gold sector, Solidarity also dropped its initial demand of 10%.

“Solidarity has appealed to employers to start recognising the value of their skilled employees, which include miners, artisans and officials,” commented Solidarity general secretary, Gideon du Plessis.

“The Minerals Council’s latest offer is not only lower than the inflation rate, but it is also significantly lower than the latest offers being made to lower category (Category 4 – 8) employees.

“These offers are ranging between 6% and 7,2%. Although Solidarity fully supports and welcomes this offer to lower category workers, the negotiations need to give recognition to the skills of employees in the higher category as well,” he continued.

According to Du Plessis, the offer made to skilled employees, which is much lower, creates the impression that their value and the role they are playing are being overlooked.

It is being experienced as a snub, and skilled employees moreover believe that the smaller increase being offered to them is a way of subsidising the other salary increases.

Du Plessis also made the point that the erstwhile argument that the various categories had to receive different increases to correct the so-called “apartheid wage gap” has not been valid for quite some time already.

“There is also a misconception among employers that employees in the skilled category will not go on strike – hence the offer that is lower compared to the one made to the other categories. It is now becoming a matter of principle for which skilled workers are prepared to exercise all rights to get a fair increase,” Du Plessis noted.

Du Plessis also indicated that Amcu had revised its position today to a demand of an R1 800 increase for Category 4 to 8 employees and a 10% increase for skilled workers at miners’, artisans’ and officials’ level.

NUM has not revised their demand and their demand for a minimum salary of R10 450 for underground workers and an increase of 14,5% for skilled workers stands.

Negotiations will continue on 22 August  when the Minerals Council could possibly present a final offer to trade unions.