NUM declines to sign wage agreement with Amplats

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Black Rock Mine on Wednesday said it was investigating an internal complaint of sexual harassment after the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) reported the matter to senior management last week.

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has declined to sign the three-year wage agreement with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), saying on Tuesday that it took a conscious and deliberate decision because the deal did not benefit the mineworkers in the platinum belt.

This comes after Amplats confirmed last week and announced the details of a three-year wage agreement it signed with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in its Rustenburg operations.

The wage agreement, which would be backdated to 1 July, 2016, would see annual increases of R1,000 or seven percent per month in basic pay for bargaining unit employees over the three-year period.

The wage agreement, which is standard across three platinum miners, would see lowest paid workers receiving salary hikes of 12.5 percent and employees in higher level bands receiving a seven percent basic salary increase.

Other increases include living out allowances, housing rent subsidies and home ownership allowances which would increase by R120 per month for each year of the three-year agreement.

Amcu has been demanding a basic salary of R12,500 for the lowest-paid mineworkers in the platinum sector and larger living out allowances of R1,000 since 2012.

But the NUM said it believed that even in the current signed three-year wage agreement, the underground workers would still have not achieved the R12,500 wage increase but get R11,500 instead.

The NUM said the R12,500 wage increase should have been achieved way back in 2012 by those who were campaigning for it, but that was still not achieved.

William Mabapa, NUM deputy general-secretary, and chief negotiator at Amplats, said that mineworkers deserved better salaries and benefits, not lies.

“The entire wage agreement is a big loss to poor mineworkers who are being made to believe they have achieved a lot,” Mabapa said in a statement.

“The benefits are calculated from a lower base below their basic salaries and that is where the problem is. Workers are highly ripped off in this agreement.”

Mabapa said the wage agreement signed by Amplats and Amcu was a violation of the recognition agreement signed by the NUM on the 9th of February 2009, Uasa and Numsa on the 17th February 2009 and AMCU on the 25th February 2013, according to the collective bargaining unit clauses.