by Udo Rypstra

Wage talks in gold sector flop, job losses likely

Wage negotiations between striking gold mineworkers and their employers collapsed

Gold Fields in dangerous territory as wage negotiations collapse yesterday.
Gold Fields

Wage negotiations between striking gold mineworkers and their employers collapsed yesterday and is expected to lead to job losses as mining companies try to survive.

The Chamber of Mines said its wage hike proposals tabled last week were not accepted by the members of the dominant unions, adding that employers were not prepared to adjust their offers further. Last week’s offer was based on workers’ grade changes within the existing two- year industry agreement.

The CoM, representing AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony Gold, said in a statement, “The unions have indicated there have been mixed reactions by their members to the Chamber’s proposals and that they are unable to confirm a return to work.”

Instead, the  strike spread to another asset of producer Gold Fields. AngloGold’s entire South African workforce have been on strike since late September, while Harmony’s Kusasalethu mine has been standing idle since October 2.

Last week, Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland said some of the damage caused by the strike was already permanent, warning that job losses were inevitable even if the strike was brought to an end soon.

Holland is expected to provide guidance on the company’s strategy to deal with the strikes on today.

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