Amplats CEO Says Company ‘Not Too Far From Settling’ Wage PactBy
Chris Griffith ‘comfortable’ with how pay talks are moving
Wage talks in top platinum producer South Africa deadlocked
The chief executive officer of Anglo American Platinum Ltd. said the world’s biggest platinum producer is close to reaching a wage agreement with its unions.
“We’re not too far from settling; I don’t want to jinx the process but we’re close and I’m comfortable with how the process is going,” Chris Griffith said an in interview on sidelines of mining conference in Johannesburg Wednesday.
Talks between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the largest group representing platinum workers, and Amplats, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Lonmin Plc reached a deadlock last month. The AMCU, which wants a 47 percent increase for the lowest-paid employees, and Griffith both said in May that they didn’t expect to talks to lead to any major supply disruptions. Amplats offered a 6.75 percent raise.
The AMCU led a five-month strike in 2014, the longest in South African history, which resulted in a wage agreement that ended in June this year. A dispute in talks may be referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration if no agreement is reached, and unions can then apply for the right to strike if negotiations remain deadlocked.
“I don’t get the sense that anyone is spoiling for a fight,” Griffith said.
AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa didn’t immediately return a call and text message seeking comment. NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu also didn’t answer a call.
“I don’t really think we’re close,” Franz Stehring, the UASA union’s head of mining, said by phone. Besides the increase in basic pay, all other related allowances would stay pegged at the 2014 base, he said. “We’re still trying to get around that.”
— With assistance by Paul Burkhardt