JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's gold mine owners and unions representing workers said Wednesday they had reached a deal to end months of industrial unrest that has curbed production of the precious metal.
The Chamber of Mines and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) agreed to a series of pay rises that will now be put to striking workers for approval beginning Wednesday.
The deal will include a pay increase for entry-level workers, and an “allowance” for rock drill and other operators.
In a face-saving measure – designed to avoid a precedent – the parties insisted the current two-year wage deal was not renegotiated.
Instead the deal cast aside lower pay categories, automatically giving entry-level workers a bump.
“When you talk about moving a miner from grade three to four this is an increase. They have agreed to increase wages in line with the current wages agreement,” NUM said.
Earlier the chamber said “it has recognised that there are certain anomalies that need to be addressed and has made proposals to address these.”
As part of the deal there will also be a commission of inquiry into the working and living conditions at the mines.
“It is critical that all the parties show leadership in restoring stability to the mining industry and bringing an end to the unprotected industrial action that is besetting the industry,” said Elize Strydom, a chamber's negotiator said.
“This is important not only for the companies, the unions and the mineworkers, but also for the economic and social well-being of the country as a whole.”