Johannesburg - The platinum industry is considering a
centralised collective bargaining model, Lonmin [JSE:LON] acting CEO Simon
Scott said on Thursday.
"There are industry discussions taking place, within
the context of the Chamber of Mines," he told reporters in Johannesburg.
"Surely if you get involved in some sort of centralised
(negotiations), this could be a way forward."
Executive manager of human capital at Lonmin, Abey Kgotle,
said it was important that a centralised bargaining structure be well thought
out and as inclusive as possible.
"There is not a silver bullet for how that is going to
The National Union of Mineworkers (Num)and many other
parties had called for centralised bargaining.
At present, the mine was trying to get operations back to
normal after the wildcat strike, which was marked by violence.
On Thursday around 80% of workers returned to their jobs.
The first three days would focus on induction, with blasting expected to resume
Scott said workers received an increase of between 11% and 22% in terms of the deal, reached on Tuesday night. The deal was an
addendum to an existing wage agreement.
The deal meant that the lowest underground worker would now
earn R9 611 (up from R8 164), a winch operator would earn R9 883 (up from R8
931), a rock drill operator would earn R11 078 (up from R9 063) and a
production team leader would earn R13 022 (up from R11 818).
Asked how much the wage increases would cost Lonmin, Scott
said he could not provide an answer.
"We can't say immediately how much this will cost the
It was not simple to work out as expenses such as overtime
and bonuses needed to be taken into account, he said.
The unprotected strike had incurred significant cost for the
company and the economy.
"Loss of revenue is not an insurable event."
Scott said Lonmin was sure that, in time, it could rebuild
confidence in its operations.
"(During the strike) there was a lot of concern from
shareholders, especially international shareholders who find it difficult to
In the short-term, however, the industry was in a "very
tough" situation because of industry pressures, including weakness in the
platinum price. It was within this context that the wage negotiations took
Despite the difficulties the industry faced, Scott said he
believed it had a future in South Africa.
"The platinum industry can get investors to believe in
the industry again, (but) we need to navigate the short-term, while markets are
tight, very carefully."
The miners went on strike on August 10, demanding a monthly
salary of R12 500.
Kgotle dismissed reports that the strike was related to
tensions between the Num and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction
Union, saying it was only motivated by the wage demand.
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