No compromises made as gold wage talks continue

Village Main Reef, Harmony Gold, Evander, Anglo Gold Ashanti and Sibanye Gold are in talks with unions.

Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu mine. Picture: Harmony Gold.

JOHANNESBURG - Gold mining companies and unions have refused to make any compromises during the third round of wage negotiations in Johannesburg, with talks expected to resume today.

Village Main Reef, Harmony Gold, Evander, Anglo Gold Ashanti and Sibanye Gold are currently in talks with unions at their mines across the country.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is the majority representative body in the sector and on Monday rejected a five-year proposal with increases of between 4.5 and 13 percent.

NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mambhuru said workers are particularly upset with Harmony Gold's offer.

"The 6.5 percent is for the miners' officials and artisans that the Angle Gold Ashanti was offering. And the lowest was offered by Harmony, which was 4.5 percent. Our members are concerned that why Harmony is always lagging behind in terms of offering with increases."

Meanwhile, NUM is threatening to strike at Glencore after the company announced it would be cutting more than 600 jobs at Optimum Coal over weak market prices.

The union has accused the mine of failing to adhere to its social labour plans and has asked government to intervene and avoid job cuts.

NUM says its members have already been instructed that their contracts expire at the end of this month.

Mammburu said, "Glencore has already given letters of retrenchments to our members to say the final date will be 31 July this year. We aren't going to take this lightly and we will not rule out a strike."