Implats to sign first ever five-year wage agreement with AMCU for Rustenburg mines

IMPALA Platinum (Implats) said it had agreed a new five year wage agreement with the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) for employees at the firm’s Rustenburg (Lease Area) and Marula mines.

“This is the first time we have signed a five year agreement and the first time one has been signed before the previous one expires (in July),” said Johan Theron, spokesman for the platinum group metals producer.

A signing ceremony has been arranged for Tuesday.

There were no details on the agreement at present, but Theron indicated it was in line with wage pacts recently concluded by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Siyanda Resources.

Amplats’ five year wage agreement, signed on May 26, will increase the total labour cost to company 6.6% on average over the period.

Northam Platinum signed a five-year agreement last year at about the 6.5% level while South Africa’s other major PGM producer, Sibanye-Stillwater, is due to begin its PGM wage negotiations on later this month.

Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, said last week that unlike peer group companies wage negotiations with unions were likely to be complicated.

“I don’t think it will be quick outcome,” Froneman said. “Positional bargaining is a process, especially if you are going to achieve an inflation-related wage increase. Maybe there’s a bit more complexity with profit share which could well be the right thing for PGMs.”

South African consumer price inflation hit a five-year high in May with a 6.5% increase compared to 5.9% in April 2022, said Statistics South Africa.

Froneman said he believed there was little appetite for a strike among union members, especially as the memory of the 2012 strike was strong. About 750,000 ounces in production was lost over the period – but more importantly it precipitated the Marikana Massacre, the 10-year anniversary of which occurs in August.