South Africa’s platinum mining firms, top union end ‘titanic battle’ as they seal wage deal – by Helen Reid (Reuters U.S. – November 15, 2019)

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s biggest platinum mining union sealed three-year wage hike agreements with Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum, and Sibanye-Stillwater on Friday, ending months of negotiation over pay.

The deal comes as a relief to the sector, where officials were fearful of a repeat of a five-month platinum strike in 2014-2015 which crippled production and hurt the economy.

The mood was celebratory as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) signed deals which union president Joseph Mathunjwa said increased workers’ monthly wages by at least 1,000 rand ($67.19).

AMCU had been in wage talks with the country’s top platinum miners since June, and in October referred the dispute with Amplats and Sibanye-Stillwater to a government mediation body.

“It has never been an easy journey … but we managed to come to this day where we are all smiling,” said Jimmy Gama, AMCU’s chief negotiator, thanking the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for its role in the deal.

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