South African Union Pushes Out Gold, Coal Wage Talks to May

The labor union representing the most gold-industry employees in South Africa, the world’s sixth-largest producer of the metal, will hold off submitting wage demands until the end of April.

The National Union of Mineworkers is concluding “internal consultations,” Livhuwani Mammburu, a spokesman for the union, said by phone Wednesday. “We expect the opening negotiation round to start towards the last week of May.”

The Chamber of Mines, which represents gold producers including AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-biggest producer, usually takes about three weeks to respond to demands, he said. The NUM will also submit coal-wage requests to the chamber, he said. Companies including BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc produce the fuel locally.

The NUM may ask that monthly entry-level pay of about 6,000 rand ($508) be doubled, General Secretary Frans Baleni said last month. A record-long strike in 2014 over wages that crippled platinum producers in South Africa, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, was led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

The AMCU speaks for about 28 percent of South Africa’s 100,000 gold workers compared with 17 percent in 2013, when the previous wage agreement was reached, Charmane Russell, a spokeswoman for the companies, said last month. The NUM represents 55 percent of employees in the industry.

The AMCU planned to create a list of demands by the end of March and then take a week to formulate them before submitting them to companies, union President Joseph Mathunjwa said March 19. He didn’t answer a call seeking comment.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE