As this year’s wage negotiations season sets in, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) already has a strike in its sights should employers in the platinum sector not agree to its demands.
Amcu wants platinum miners to pay workers a minimum of R17,000 a month.
This figure could rise to over R30,000 when including other conditions of service such as increases to provident fund contributions by employers. The lowest-paid worker in the platinum sector currently earns R11, 500.
Amcu’s long-standing demand of a R12, 500 minimum pay saw them wage a lengthy strike that ended in bloodshed in Marikana in 2012.
While that demand still appeared to be evasive, union president Joseph Mathunjwa said R17,000 was well within reach.
“Mr Neal Froneman [Sibanye CEO] during our five-month strike in the gold sector indicated that he was making handsome profits in the platinum sector, now it’s time to share,” he said.
Amcu, along with its rival the National Union of Mineworkers and other trade unions – will begin talks with the country’s three largest platinum group metal producers, Sibanye-Stillwater, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum this month.
Mathunjwa said the increase in palladium and rhodium prices since 2017 indicated that platinum miners were in a good financial position to meet the union’s demands.
The trade union claims to represent 60,000 workers in the sector and has just come out of a five-month strike over wages against Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold division.