South Africa’s Mineworkers Union Demand 100% Increase In Wages

South Africa’s Mineworkers Union Demand 100% Increase In Wages
South African miners have been paid slave wages for centuries

AFRICANGLOBE – South Africa’s Associated Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) has made demands of more than 100 percent for all unskilled and semi-skilled employees in the gold sector.

In a statement submitted to the gold industry (Chamber of Mines) on Tuesday, AMCU demanded a minimum entry level wage of $1,500 (R11, 500) for surface workers and $1,250 (R12, 500) for underground workers.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) submitted its wage demands around May 19 in which it said it was seeking an entry-level minimum monthly wage of $700 (R7, 000) for surface workers and $800 (R8,000) for underground miners.

Elize Strydom, the industrial relations adviser at the CoM, said the minimum wage for surface workers is currently $470 (R4, 700) and $500 (R5, 000) for underground miners. This is a demand of 60 percent.

Meawhile, AMCU is yet to disclose its demands for the platinum, as negations will not be dealt at national level but with companies. AMCU hold the majority of South Africa’s biggest gold mines.

Industrial observers have the option that AMCU demand that was still likely to face the opposition of margin-hit gold producers.

AMCU’s wage demands come on a day when the share prices of three of South Africa’s gold producers threatened to test or hit five-year lows with Harmony Gold the hardest hit. The firm, which produces nearly all its gold from South Africa, skidded 8.3 percent to R34.20/share. The company was worth twice as much in January.

The price of gold tested $1,275/oz in early New York trade before recovering as much as $10/oz at the time of writing.

Gold price weakness is linked to US Federal Reserve comments last week that QE would be stopped in mid-2014 provided the US economy continued to grow.