Amplats Gets 20% Pay-Increase Demand From No. 2 Labor Union

  • National Union of Mineworks seeks two-year pay agreement
  • Increase sought by union includes salary-related allowances

The second-biggest union at Anglo American Platinum Ltd. is demanding a 20 percent increase in pay from the world’s largest miner of the metal as wage talks with South Africa’s major producers are set to start.

The National Union of Mineworkers’ demand comes as a pay agreement reached in 2014 after the longest strike in the country’s history ends this month. The increase requested includes salary-related allowances, the union said in an e-mailed copy of terms addressed to the company’s head of human resources dated June 1. Platinum and palladium extended gains following the news.

The requested increase compares with inflation of 6.2 percent in April. It comes as Africa’s most-industrialized economy contracted in the three months through March after mining production slumped due to low commodity prices and farming output declined amid the worst drought in more than a century. The central bank’s projected growth of 0.6 percent for this year will be the slowest pace since a 2009 recession and the 26.7 percent jobless rate is the highest in at least eight years.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union in 2013 displaced the NUM as the largest representative of employees at the world’s three biggest platinum producers, all of which have most of their operations in South Africa.

Minimum Sought

Anglo American Platinum spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole and AMCU spokesman Manzini Zungu didn’t immediately respond to phone calls and messages requesting comment.

Underground workers must earn a minimum of 12,000 rand ($809) a month and surface employees 11,000 rand, it said. The NUM wants a two-year deal.

Producers of platinum-group metals can afford a pay increase and while the NUM may not get its opening demand, it will not take anything less than 10 percent, General Secretary David Sipunzi said June 3.

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Lonmin Plc are the second- and third-biggest producers. While prices of the metal have climbed 10 percent this year, they have declined 49 percent from a peak of $1,915.75 an ounce reached in August 2011.

Platinum for immediate delivery advanced 1.1 percent to $980.95 an ounce at 2:03 p.m. in London, while palladium increased 1.9 percent to $544.90 an ounce. Both metals are used in catalytic converters that reduce car pollution.

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