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Solidarity invites Amcu to continue negotiations
Gold wage negotiations resumed
16 July 2015
  Trade union Solidarity extended an invitation to Amcu (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) on 15 July 2015, to continue its participation in negotiations in the gold sector. This comes after Amcu finds itself outside the bargaining forum at the moment after having declared a dispute with the Chamber of Mines last week.
According to Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis, it is essential that all trade unions participate in negotiations to ensure that collective bargaining in the sector is promoted. “It is important that Amcu returns to the talks so unions could further negotiate as a unit,” Du Plessis said.
Solidarity furthermore appeals to the Chamber of Mines to bring a favourable revised offer, which addresses the needs of all trade unions, to the table. “At this critical stage of negotiations it is key that the Chamber comes up with a favourable revised offer to continue the current negotiating process,” Du Plessis said.
During the fourth round of negotiations on 15 July, Solidarity motivated a reduced wage demand of 11% to the Chamber. The trade union’s previous demand for miners, artisans and officials was 12%. Solidarity is still calling for the retirement age of above ground as well underground workers to be upped to 63.
Solidarity also demanded that the housing allowance be increased for all employees. A further demand was that companies offer houses owned by the companies to their workers at prices less than market value. “The banks categorise miners in a high risk category and lower house prices will ensure that employees obtain loans easier,” Du Plessis explained.
Solidarity once again stressed that the Chamber has to address its demand for equality in terms of workers’ choice of medical aid schemes.
A spokesperson for Amcu said they hope a new offer will be presented to the union. He denied that they walked out of negotiations and said they are following the prescribed processes in order to refer the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. Amcu wants a minimum wage of R12 500 as well as other benefits for underground workers.
The gold producers – AngloGold Ashanti, Evander Gold Mines, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Gold and Village Main Reef – said last week that the demands are unaffordable. It will mean an additional R16,5 billion in wages for these five companies. Their highest offer is 13%.
The companies were still hopeful that an agreement will be reached.