Amcu & gold companies return to negotiating table

The union insists it did not walk out of negotiations, but simply declared a deadlock.

A mine shaft. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has agreed to return to gold wage negotiations with five companies and the Chamber of Mines after reaching a deadlock last week over its membership recognition.

On Tuesday, the union insisted it did not walk out of negotiations but simply declared a deadlock.

Amcu's Jimmy Gama said the companies have agreed to meet with them over the next two days and they hope a new offer will be presented.

"We're not returning as if we've walked out, we're just following the processes in terms of what we need to do before we refer the matter to CCMA. So we don't know as yet what is it that they will be bringing on the table when we meet with them."

Amcu's members want a minimum of R12,500 for underground workers, as well as other benefits such as housing allowances.

Last week, Gold mine producers said that it would be 'irresponsible' to agree to the union's salary demand as it was unaffordable.

The highest offer from the mines on the table is 13 percent.

Amcu alone is demanding an R18 billion wage bill from all companies over one year.

AngloGold Ashanti, Evander Gold Mines, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Gold and Village Main Reef said the demands made by the unions are were high as an additional R16,5 billion across the five companies.

Gold producers' spokesperson Charmane Russell said at the time, "Regrettably Amcu has decided to declare a deadlock and invoke a dispute through the dispute resolution mechanism. That doesn't mean talking won't continue."

Furthermore, gold producers said although it was regrettable that Amcu had declared a deadlock with wage negotiations they remained hopeful of a speedy resolution.