Amcu’s Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: MASI LOSI
Amcu’s Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: MASI LOSI

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu)  signed a wage deal with SA’s largest platinum producers on Friday, after four months of negotiations.

The union inked the deal with three platinum mining houses — Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Sibanye-Stillwater — at a ceremony in Johannesburg.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the basic monthly increase of R1,000 per worker per annum, amounted to more than R5.7bn in total over the next three years and will benefit employees as well as their local economies. 

For each year of the agreement, Amplats agreed to an increase of R1,000 per month in basic pay, or 5.5%, whichever is greater. The deal includes other benefits as well, such as  ex gratia payments of R1,000 in July 2020 and R1,500 in July 2021.

Sibanye-Stillwater has agreed to an annual increase of R1,000 per month, or a 5% increase, whichever is higher. Implats agreed to an increase of R1,100, or 6%.

Amcu has been negotiating with the country’s biggest platinum miners since July when it’s initial demand was as high as a 48% increase for workers. During negotiations, Mathunjwa slammed Sibanye’s offer for its Marikana operations (formerly Lonmin) as “shockingly low” and an attempt to provoke workers into a strike.

The platinum belt is a hot-spot of tension, which notoriously culminated in the Marikana massacre in August 2012 when police killed 34 protestors.

In October, Amcu stood firm that it would not accept less than a R1,000 increase in workers’ monthly wages and deferred negotiations with Amplats and Sibanye to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

The signing ceremony was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed to finalise the documentation.

On Friday, Mathunjwa said he had not anticipated that negotiations would take four months, given the high platinum group metals (PGM) prices.

“Today the bosses are enjoying some of the highest PGM prices ever, then they pay out dividends to shareholders, which is good, but it should not be at the expense of their employees. We thought the negotiations would be quicker because the PGM prices have appreciated.”

The companies said they were pleased to have reached a fair settlement that is sustainable for both their businesses and their employees. 

steynl@businesslive.co.za