UNIONS representing platinum group metal (PGM) miners are set to ask for wage increases of up to 40%, according to a report by Daily Maverick.
Citing a document drawn up by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) detailing the wage demands, the Daily Maverick said that the entry-level minimum wage for all underground workers should be R20,000 a month.
This compares to the the basic pay component of R14,500/month agreed by Sibanye-Stillwater in terms of a three-year wage deal agreement in 2019. The proposed increase for skilled workers such as artisans is 15%, the document stated.
“The average 2021 PGM prices were as follows, platinum was $1,092,74/oz, palladium was at $2,397/oz, rhodium was at $18,074/oz and iridium was at $6,000/oz,” AMCU said in its document outlining its wage demands.
PGM producers reported handsome profits for 2021. In February, Anglo American Platinum announced a record full year dividend of R80bn.
Daily Maverick said it expected the current AMCU coalition with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) which is behind a strike at the gold mines of Sibanye-Stillwater to be extended to PGM industry wage negotiations.
Sibanye-Stillwater and the striking unions are not far apart — the demand is a hike of R1,000 a month, while the offer is R850 a month each year over the course of three years — which raises questions over why it is still ongoing, said Daily Maverick. No one at this stage is going to come out of that dispute a winner.