Pretoria: The Chamber of Mines, representing AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony, and the National Union of Mine Workers, Solidarity and UASA have signed a wage agreement on Thursday.
It is believed that the agreement will bring an end to strikes in the sector which started in August when rock drillers at Lonmin downed tools demanding wages of R12 500. Thirty four workers were killed during a clash with police and that became known as the Marikana tragedy.
The strike quickly spread to other mines in the area, spilling over to the gold and coal sectors.
National Union of Mine Workers, Solidarity and UASA had earlier indicated that their members were comfortable with the agreement.
According to the agreement, category 3 employees will all be placed to category 4 which will now be the entry level for the companies.
The salaries of the category 4 to 8 employees will be raised by between 1.5 and 2 percent, a new operator level for loader, locomotive, winch and water jet operators will be created within category 4 and their basic rates will be adjusted by between R250 and R400 per month.
Rock drill operators will either have their basic rates adjusted by R500 or will receive an allowance of R400.
According to the parties, all the adjustments are in addition to the salary increase that took effect on 1 July 2012 and which ranged from 8.5 to 10 percent.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held in Johannesburg this morning, Chairman of the Chamber of Mines Robbie Lazare said the agreement was part of a process of resolving the situation in the mining industry.
He said it was critical to create stability in the industry.
National Union of Mine Workers representative Zimisele Ponti said it was not easy for all the parties to reach an agreement but they felt a way forward to resolve the matter was needed.
Asked about the workers who had been dismissed, Ponti said they were currently engaging with the employers to re-employ all those workers who had been dismissed.
“It is important for the employers to reconsider their decisions, this will form the basis of creating stability in the industry,” he said.
He called on all those striking workers not to resort to violence.
Solidarity’s Gideon du Plessis he was pleased that they had reached an agreement. “We wanted to restore calm in the industry,” he said.