It has become a norm around the world regarding wage negotiations.
Recently South Africa was hit by a longest wage dispute since apartheid and possibly the longest in the mining sector in known history. The country came to a halt and Rustenburg platinum strike became a burning topic but can we look in depth and see whether workers gained or not.
Mzansi411 caught up with employees from impala platinum mines as it has been known to be one of the underpaying mines. Our focus was to see a real gain in monetary value. We spoke to two –
*kabelo Maine who works at processing is a member of num (National union of mineworkers) and is critical of AMCU wage approach negotiating principle. *Kabelo mentioned and highlighted the weakness of AMCU in handling of cases and said the employer takes advantage of this shortfall.
He further indicated that AMCU brought a bigger increase by far as the lower category of B1 which he now enjoys takes home well over R10200 which however is inclusive of shifts allowances and living out allowance, previously the said category used to take home just under R8200 now a real increase in layman terms is R2000. The only difference is that AMCU pushed and gained one year advantage better than NUM could have done as the NUM would have adapted a 10% increase year on year approach and to save possible job losses as NUM is mindful of pit holes around wage issues.
However *Kabelo Maine counterpart who works at the shafts and reside outside the hostel system saw the wage as a real victory for him and fellow winch operators who are boxed at category A4 which is lower than the B1 which *Kabelo enjoys.
After all deductions as he puts he can take over R8700 home to his wife and children and further says AMCU won a new safety bonus system which NUM failed to bring forth for the past 30 years. Before the strike this gentle man used to take home +-R6000. As we look at this we used ask. Did AMCU really needed to go on strike for five months to agree on a wage settlement of R2000.
I however having looked at the suffering of miners in order to attain this wage increase would say it’s a wage waiting for.
By : Tumi Mokgatle