However, the wage agreements signed by unions do not apply to all workers as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is yet to sign.
But Eurasia Group’s Mark Rosenberg, an emerging markets analyst focused on Africa, who has a negative outlook on South Africa overall, notes that while the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the biggest union in gold, accepted producers’ most recent wage offer, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is likely to reject the offer.
Unions and employers have been locked in talks for the last three months after the previous wage agreement expired in June.
The NUM – the largest in the sector representing 53% of 94,000 workers in the centralised bargaining – was “idling to sign the agreement”, the union’s general secretary David Sipunzi said on Thursday.
Two mining companies have signed agreements with unions, ending weeks of negotiations.
A spokeswoman for the Chamber of Mines, which represents Glencore, Anglo American Coal and Exxaro, said the coal producers had raised their offer to wage increases of up to 8.5 percent for the lowest-paid workers, from 8 percent previously.
The four companies are AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Gold and Evander Gold, a unit of Pan African Resources.
However, there is no clear majority at Sibanye, where the NUM has 43% representation and Amcu 42%. A rival union has however yet to accept the offer.
“We have an intention to strike”, Peter Bailey, the National Union of Mineworkers’ chief negotiator for coal. said by phone Wednesday.
Around 30 000 workers are expected to take part in the strike.
Spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe says power supply will only be affected if the strike continues for more than a month.