NUM signs wage deal with Sibanye Gold

Under the deal, workers will receive increases in housing allowances, medical aid and retirement funds.

Sibanye Gold logo. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has signed a three-year wage deal with bullion producer Sibanye Gold for increases of up to 12.5% for lowest paid workers, the union and company said on Wednesday.

David Sipunzi, the head of the gold industry's largest union, told Reuters the NUM had put pressure on Sibanye to sign the wage deal through marches and letters culminating in an agreement after months of negotiations.

The industry's second largest union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), has not yet signed the pay agreement after Sibanye backtracked on a previous clause to not sign with any union unless all four unions were on board.

Under the wage deal, workers would also receive increases in housing allowance, medical aid and retirement funds.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents gold companies in talks, said it signed a wage deal with NUM and two smaller unions Solidarity and UASA, adding that Amcu had agreed to the deal.

"While it is unfortunate that all the parties could not agree, we are pleased that an agreement has been reached with the NUM, UASA and Solidarity," Chamber spokeswoman Elize Strydom said in a statement.

South Africa's gold producers are grappling with depressed prices and soaring costs and have said they cannot afford inflated wage bills.

Sibanye's peers Harmony Gold and AngloGold Ashanti have already signed pay agreements with unions representing the majority of workers in their shafts, a situation which they say means they can legally impose the deal on members of Amcu, which has not yet accepted their offers.

Members of the hardline Amcu union, which went on strike for five months in the platinum sector in 2014, voted in favour of a strike at operations of the gold companies. The union, however, said its members would not down tools immediately.