Today's Labour News

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goldbarsBusiness Times writes that the future of SA’s gold mining industry hangs in the balance as it prepares for a new round of wage negotiations, with demands for steep pay hikes likely to fast track its inevitable demise.  

Labour accounts for 53% of total industry costs and current talks with unions will therefore be crucial.  With the current gold price, mines could close down one by one.  “The higher those labour costs, the more it moves [forward] that date of those mine closures,” said Ian Cruickshanks of the Institute of Race Relations.  The gold industry has cut about 54,269 jobs in the past decade.  Although the gold price has increased by 20% in the past two years, the rand has strengthened by 20% in the same period, which means mining companies are not getting the advantage of the price rise.  Gold companies negotiating in this round of wage talks are AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye-Stillwater, Harmony Gold and Village Main Reef.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has reportedly demanded a 37% wage increase for the lowest paid mineworkers.  The Chamber of Mines confirmed it had received demands from the NUM, the United Association of SA (Uasa) and Solidarity.  The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which represents 34% of workers in the industry, said it would table its demands this week.  Uasa is seeking a 10.5% increase, while Solidarity is asking for 10%.  The Chamber did not say when the talks would start, but indicated that the wage settlement would be effective from 1 July.

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