Industrial Relations: Chamber of Mines of South Africa
IT’S debatable whether Elize Strydom’s attempt to re-frame South African gold industry wage negotiations in 2015 was a success. Her approach was to collaborate with gold producers, opening up their books to support claims they did not have the funds to meet the R12,500/month demand of the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU), or NUM’s 85% wage demand. Certainly, there was no strike, but was fatigue the reason with some 88 recorded strikes across the economy in 2014? Also, Strydom’s gold industry agreement – 13% for entry-level workers for three years with a peace clause – did not win the blessing of AMCU. It subsequently won a strike certificate and could take workers out legally at Sibanye Gold, and illegally at Harmony and AngloGold Ashanti. Then there’s platinum sector wage talks due this year. Strydom’s Chamber of Mines has no direct influence, but how AMCU handles the talks will be of interest, not to mention the complicating factor that Sibanye Gold will set the mandate for Rustenburg Mines even though Amplats will still be the owner by June.
LIFE OF ELIZE
Strydom, an attorney and former academic who holds a doctorate in law, worked as a professor in labour law at Unisa for 13 years before joining the Chamber of Mines in 1999. She has won much respect for her negotiating skills and strong networks within business and organised labour.
- Web Address: www.chamberofmines.org.za