South Africa: Harmony, Unions Strike Gold With Historic Five-Year Wage Pact

Harmony Gold signed a historic inflation-linked five-year wage agreement with…

Harmony Gold signed a historic inflation-linked five-year wage agreement with five unions on Thursday, the day after the precious metal’s price hit a record high. The deal should maintain harmony in Harmony’s shafts and is a welcome development after a wave of wildcat, underground sit-ins late last year signalled rising labour tensions.

The deal is the first five-year wage agreement with all of its unions in Harmony’s 73-year history and was reached three months before the expiry of the current one – without a single tool being downed.

The previous three-year deal was also clinched without a hint of strike action.

This should maintain harmony in Harmony’s shafts, which have been rocked in the past by union unrest, and provides certainty on labour costs over the next five years as the company embarks on an expansion project at its Mponeng operation, the world’s deepest mine.

For the members of the five unions involved – Solidarity, Uasa, NUM, Amcu and Numsa – the agreement provides for five years of annual pay increases linked to inflation or higher, providing them with a long-term sense of security regarding their incomes.

CEO Peter Steenkamp said in a statement that the deal “… is testimony to the strength of our labour relations… It is fair and balanced, considering the impact that increases in the cost of living are likely to have on employees over the next five years.”

One thing that would not have been lost on unions was the price of gold, which raced to a…

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