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Pay hike demands “ridiculous”, SA’s largest gold miner tells union
July 28, 2016, 8:40 am

Talks between unions and the mining companies started this month [Xinhua]

Talks between unions and the mining companies started this month [Xinhua]

Sibanye Gold, South Africa’s largest gold miner has dismissed wage demands by miners in South Africa as “ridiculous”.

Talks between unions and the mining companies started this month.

Reuters quoted the chief executive of Sibanye Gold on Thursday as saying that pay cuts should be on the agenda of talks and that demands of pay hikes of upto 50 per cent by mining unions are “ridiculous”.

Neal Froneman said in a presentation that the department of mineral resources was “destroying hundreds of millions, if not billions of rand of value” in unnecessary safety stoppages.

The company expects sharply higher H1 earnings.

Sibanye Gold will post headline earnings per share as much as 600 per cent higher, as it reaps the benefit of record rand/gold prices, the company said on Wednesday.

South Africa ranks as one of the richest countries in natural resources from gold to iron ore.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the biggest union in the sector, is demanding pay hikes of more than 50 per cent, while a smaller union, the National Union of Mineworkers, is seeking a 20 per cent increase.

AMCU has signed up steelworkers, security guards and factory workers, taking its membership to about 180,000, according to its president Joseph Mathunjwa, who founded the group in 2001.

Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said earlier that platinum mining firms and South African trade unions should conclude wage talks quickly to avoid the protracted disputes that led to a five-month strike two years ago.

In 2012 rock drillers at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana mining complex chose to represent themselves in wage talks and went on strike to demand a minimum monthly wage of 12,500 rand ($853). The police shot 34 of them dead.

The country has the world’s biggest reserves of platinum, third-largest of gold, is the biggest manganese producer and is Africa’s largest source of iron ore and coal.

Despite load shedding, low commodity prices and policy uncertainty, South African mining production grew by 3.3 per cent in 2015 after a 1.4 per cent drop in 2014, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).


TBP and Agencies