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'Miner wage negotiations will be tough'

Chamber of Mines says it's confident a resolution on miners wage demands will be reached.

Aurora mine. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Chamber of Mines says it's bracing for the toughest round of negotiations with gold mines this year.

The new player in the industry, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, tabled its demands to the chamber this week and is believed to have asked the gold mining companies to double miners' pay with a minimum wage of R12,500 for all those working underground.

This follows a decision by the National Union of Mineworkers to table its demands by asking for a minimum wage of R7,000 for the lowest paid surface miner.

The chamber's chief negotiator Elize Strydom said this will make the wage talks all the more difficult.

"There's no doubt that these negotiations will be tough and the companies can't afford what's being put on the table."

But Strydom said they're confident a resolution would be reached.

"We will try to find a solution, normally that would be the middle ground, what the company can afford and the expectation of the workers."

Meanwhile, during a mining round table held last week in Sandton, it emerged the salaries of South African miners are in the top bracket of blue collar workers in the country and mine bosses admitted they could afford to pay workers more.

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