South African gold producers will present unions with an “economic and social sustainability pact” when wage talks kick off on Monday, the chief negotiator for South Africa’s Chamber of Mines said on Thursday.
The talks, which include Africa’s top bullion producer AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Harmony Gold, come at a time when the industry is grappling with depressed prices, falling production and rising costs.
“What we are going to say to the unions is that we need to talk about sustainability of the industry and we need to talk about it as partners,” Elize Strydom, the chamber’s chief negotiator, told Reuters.
Strydom also said a “financial model” would be proposed to the unions but did not elaborate. The pact will include proposals to tackle employee debt levels, an issue which has been linked to high wage demands and increased union militancy.
The two biggest unions are demanding wage hikes for their lowest paid members ranging from around 80 percent to over 100 percent, setting the stage for tough talks.