Implats signs five year wage agreement in line with 6.5% inflation

IMPALA Platinum (Implats) today signed a new wage agreement with the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) representing employees at its Rustenburg and Marula Platinum mines.

As reported on Monday, the agreement is for five years – a first for Implats – and provides employees with increases to all major components of remuneration including living out and home ownership allowances, medical aid and pension fund contributions.

“The agreement is in line with current mining inflation of about 6.5% and considers the reality of sustained inflationary pressures faced by our employees,” Implats said in a statement. This is also the first time Implats has agreed a wage increase prior to the expiry of the current deal. The new agreement is effective July 1.

Said Implats: “This agreement secures five years of stability at Implats’ operating entities and has been achieved through a collaborative process typified by mutual respect and consideration and without requiring intervention or mediation by third parties. The agreement removes substantial uncertainty for our employees and allows a singular focus on the pursuit of safe and sustainable production”.

On May 26, Amplats signed a five year wage agreement that 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.