JOHANNESBURG, Gold mining companies in South Africa have confirmed tabling wage offers which are way below the demands of unions.

The three gold miners are offering wage increases of between 450 and 500 Rand (about 33 and 37 US dollars) for entry-level underground workers while the four unions are demanding wages of between 10,500 and 12,500 a month.

Currently most entry-level workers earn around 8,000 Rand a month.

Charmane Russell from the Minerals Council of the mining companies says the unions’ demands cannot be met in the current economic environment.

The gold industry continues to face major challenges. First is stagnant gold prices, second is rising costs. You will be aware that wages and electricity together comprise around 70 per cent of the total costs base in the sector,” she said.

“The third one includes ageing infrastructure. The last one relates to policy uncertainty which has had a huge impact on investor confidence.

Meanwhile, the State-owned power utility, Eskom has offered a 7.0 per cent wage increase for members affiliated to the National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa), which says that Eskom gave them two wage agreement options which they will take to their members for final decision.

The first option consists of a 7.0 per cent wage increase for the next three years with a housing allowance, while the second option consists of a 7.5 per cent wage increase with no housing allowance. The union says they will be meeting with Eskom next week to finalise the wage settlement.

Earlier in June, the cash strapped power utility announced a no pay increases and unions threatened a shutdown. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and Numsa called on Eskom to hike wages for their members by between 8.0 and 8.5 per cent.

Source: NAM News Network