South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday it had signed a three-year wage deal with Northam Platinum for increases of up to 17 percent for its lowest paid members.
Northam said in a statement that the deal only applied to workers at its Zondereinde mine, which accounts for most of the company’s production.
NUM, which is currently in wage talks in the gold sector, said the deal will see the basic minimum monthly wage for surface workers rise 1,000 rand to 6,981 rand ($550), an increase of about 17 percent.
For underground workers, the bulk of the workforce, the increases for entry-level workers will be 13 percent in the first year, followed by annual hikes of 11.6 percent and 10.5 percent. Other categories will get wage rises of at least 7.5 percent in the first year.
Inflation in Africa’s most advanced economy stood at 4.7 percent in June.
The platinum industry is under pressure with prices at 6-1/2 lows below $1,000 an ounce. But Northam’s balance sheet is in fairly good shape and the company said in May it could spend 4 billion rand to buy additional assets.
($1 = 12.6495 rand)