An industry-wide labour strike at South Africa's gold sector has ended with most mine workers accepting an eight per cent pay increase.
"We are still in consultation with members as some had gone away for the weekend, the majority have accepted the offer...we would be finalising everything with employers on Monday," Frans Baleni, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), as quoted as saying on Sunday by Independent Online.
On Tuesday, some 90,000 South African gold miners went on strike as wage hike talks between mining firms and workers broke down on August. Represented by NUM, workers rejected the 6.5 per cent increase forwarded by members of the Chamber of Mines (CoM). Its members were composed of gold producing firms Harmony Gold, Sibanye Gold, AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields.
Retroactive to July 2013, category four and five employees, as well as rock drill operators will receive a wage hike of eight per cent over two years. Other employees will receive 7.5 per cent, also good for 24 months.
"So far, so good and touch wood, but you cannot build an investment case for South African gold shares based around peaceful industrial action. The fact is that the ounces of gold are not coming out of the ground and the situation remains extremely volatile," an unidentified analyst from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange was quoted by Business Day Live.
Moreover, the CoM added that included in the agreement were inflation-linked increases from July 2014 and a housing allowance increase to 2,000 rand from 1,640 rand.
The new wage offer "a little more than employers would have preferred," Elize Strydom, CoM's chief negotiator, said in a statement. "The agreement has helped us prevent a longer period of damaging industrial action and remains a reasonably balanced outcome in terms of affordability and jobs preservation."
Graham Briggs, Harmony Gold chief executive, said the workers' and industry's "long term industrial relations stability" remained foremost in their minds that why they agreed to revamp their last offer of 6.5 per cent.
However, "continued industrial action will make this increase unaffordable, and place the future viability of some of our operations under threat. This, in turn, could have an impact on jobs," he was quoted by the AFP.
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