Chamber confident of gold strike resolution

The pressure is now on for bigger gold companies to reach wage agreements as soon as possible.

FILE: About 3, 000 striking miners gathered in an open field near Anglo American mine’s Thembelani shaft on 12 September, 2012 in Rustenburg. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and gold companies are already reaching agreements one day into the industrial action, the Chamber of Mines (CoM) said on Wednesday.

The chamber says early settlement talks indicate constructive outcomes can be reached.

Around 80,000 workers affiliated to the NUM downed tools on Tuesday evening in what analysts initially feared could become one of the hardest hitting strikes in South Africa's history.

Junior gold producer Village Main Reef says it's now reached a wage agreement with striking union members at its Tau Lekoa mine.

It is one of the first mines to reach a settlement since the strike kicked off last night.

The company agreed to increase wages by 8 percent for some employees and 7.5 percent for others.

A similar agreement has also been reached by Pan African Resources.

The pressure is now on for the bigger gold companies, including AngloGold Ashanti and Sibanye Gold, to stop the industrial action at its operations and reach wage agreements as soon as possible.

The NUM says workers are asking for a salary increase of between R2,300 and R3,000 per month.

This will be phased in over a period of time.

In total, the overall hike will amount to 15 percent.

However, the NUM is willing to drop its demands if employers meet them half way, as long as the final agreement remains in the double digits.