ANGGOLD: 20,707 -644 (-3.02%)
South African unions declare dispute over wage talks with gold firms
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Three South African unions
said on Wednesday that wage negotiations in the gold sector had
hit a deadlock and they had declared a dispute, a move that is
one step short of a strike.
Solidarity, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction
Union (AMCU) and UASA said their wage talks with Harmony Gold
and smaller producer Village Main Reef had hit a dead
end, but they were still negotiating with AngloGold Ashanti
Gold producers have argued that above-inflation wage hikes
have been adding to the cost burden in the bullion industry,
which has been hit by depressed prices and labour unrest.
When unions declare a dispute, they usually have to go
through conciliation talks with the companies concerned mediated
by an authority such as the Commission for Conciliation,
Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
If the talks fail to break the impasse, a protected strike
could potentially go ahead.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which is also
involved in negotiations with gold producers, last week declared
a dispute with Minerals Council, which is representing gold
producers in the wage talks.
NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said the union was waiting
for a date to be set to continue the talks under the CCMA.
The Minerals Council chief negotiator Motsamai Motlhamme
said it was critical that any wage agreement reached "does not
compromise the viability of an industry already in distress."
The four companies involved in the negotiations earlier this
month each presented different offers of up to 7.2 percent to
underground employees and up to 4.5 percent for miners and
artisans. Inflation stood at 5.1 in July.
(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg
Editing by James Macharia)
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