RBPlats Signs South Africa Wage Deal Without a StrikeAndre Janse van Vuuren
Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd. said it concluded a pay deal with its dominant union, making it the first listed South African producer of the metal to settle wages without industrial action since the beginning of the year.
RBPlats, as the Johannesburg-based company is known, reached a three-year agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers to raise basic pay for almost 90 percent of its workforce by as much as 10.5 percent annually, starting July 1 this year, it said in a statement today. The deal will lift monthly wages for the lowest-paid workers to more than 12,000 rand ($1,120) by the time it expires, NUM Deputy General Secretary Tshimane Montoedi said.
“At the point of signing an agreement we’re not having cases of loss of life,” he told reporters in Johannesburg, referring to violence and deaths reported by the police during a five-month stoppage at Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Lonmin Plc. “We aren’t reporting anything on damages to property.”
The three largest producers of the metal lost 24 billion rand in revenue during a strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union at their South African operations. The stoppage, which ended on June 24, was settled with increases in basic pay of as much as 20 percent and caused a contraction in the economy of the country that accounts for more than two-thirds of the world’s mined platinum. South Africa’s inflation rate was 6.6 percent in May.
Northam Platinum Ltd., another producer in the country, lost 750 million rand during a strike by the NUM that lasted from November to January.
The last platinum producer with operations in South Africa to settle wages without a strike was Atlatsa Resources Corp., which agreed a pay deal with the NUM and two smaller unions in December.
The deal between RBPlats and the NUM can be extended for another two years when it expires in 2017 and will raise the company’s cost of labor by an average 9.1 percent annually for the three years, the producer said in a separate statement.
Platinum for immediate delivery rose 0.7 percent to $1,496.07 an ounce at 4:53 p.m.
(An earlier version of this story corrected the last time a wage offer was agreed without a strike.)