South African Union Pay Deal Ends Strike at Impala Refinery

  • Strike started on Sept. 27 after five rounds of talks failed
  • ‘Everyone has gone back to work,’ union spokesman says

South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers, representing more than half the workers at Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd.’s refinery, signed a two-year wage deal to end a strike at the facility.

The agreement reached on Friday includes annual pay increases between 7.5 and 10 percent for each year of the deal, which is effective from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018, according to the union. Medical and accommodation allowances were also raised.

Some of the union’s 500 members at the Impala plant started the strike on Sept. 27 after five rounds of talks with management failed. All those on strike have now returned to work, union spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said by phone. Impala, the world’s second-biggest platinum producer, operates the refinery about 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Johannesburg and employs about 900 people.

“The signed wage agreement provides a reasonable compromise between employee expectations, current wage inflation and the economic realities that dictate the financial sustainability of our business," Johan Theron, an Impala spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

The plant raised production from mine-to-market operations by 11 percent to 628,600 ounces in the year ended June 30. Refined output from third-party purchases and tolls climbed 32 percent to 182,900 ounces, according to a Sept. 1 statement.

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