South African mining union accepts wage offer

South Africa13 June 2014, Johannesburg – South Africa’s mining union Amcu has accepted a new wage offer in principle but some outstanding “issues” still need to be discussed, its leader said on Friday.

“In principle we have agreed to the offer. There are still issues that we need to consult with the employer,” Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union president Joseph Mathunjwa told Sapa by phone.

“It’s not true that we have entirely rejected the offer,” he said, clearing up confusion created by a radio report saying its members had rejected the offer tabled on Thursday.

Impala Platinum spokesman Johan Theron said mining companies would meet the union again on Friday.

“As far as we know, Amcu has accepted the offer,” he said.

Mathunjwa addressed workers in the North West town of Rustenburg on Thursday, where the platinum belt is reeling from a 21-week-old strike marked by violence and intimidation.

Most workers cheered when Mathunjwa announced the new wage offer, mandating him to accept the R1000 per month wage increase offer for the A and B band (unskilled and semi-skilled) workers over three years.

Skilled workers in the C band (officials, artisans, and miners) were offered an eight percent increase in the first year and 7.5 percent for the two years after that.

The outstanding demands by some miners include:

— The reinstatement at Lonmin of 235 essential services workers who were dismissed during the strike;

— The housing allowances — also known as living out allowances — to be increased by an unspecified amount; and

— That the workers get back-pay from January and paid for the months they were on strike.

Union members at Lonmin, Implats, and Anglo American Platinum have been on strike since January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

– South African Press Association

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