Northam raises wage offer again

[] — Northam Platinum on Monday again raised its pay rise offer to workers to end a strike that had cost what the firm says is R250m in lost revenue.

“There has been an improvement and we are briefing the members tomorrow. However, we can’t divulge the details now,” National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said on Monday.

NUM is demanding a 15% increase and a monthly housing allowance of R3 500 rand.

Workers at Northam, one of South Africa’s smaller platinum producers, last week rejected the company’s revised pay offer of a 9.5% rise and a housing allowance of R1 750 a month.

South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, has been hit by a wave of strikes and strike threats, which have led to pay settlements well above the inflation rate and raised fears that the cost of living will rise.

South Africa’s inflation rate was at 3.5% in August.

A smaller union, Solidarity, had signed a wage deal with Northam, while NUM had rejected the offer.

Northam said in early September the strike at the Zondereinde mine would cost 1 000 ounces per day in lost production of platinum group metals (PGMs).