'Reward for anarchy' sees rand on the run

LazyLion

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The rand dived to a four-year low and gold mining shares took a pounding as fears spread that unaffordable wage demands will lead to strikes as soon as next month.

There are worries in an industry facing "a major crisis of survival" that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union will try to go one better than the National Union of Mineworkers and demand wage increases for its members of more than 60% in some job categories.

The rand fell during the day to as low as 9.48 to the dollar.

The latest slump dims the already faint hopes of consumers that the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates later this week.

The depreciation also cuts the chances of a sizeable decrease in the fuel price next month.

The NUM on Sunday demanded pay rises of up to 60% in a document handed to the Chamber of Mines.

"Being reasonable has serious consequences," said NUM general secretary Frans Baleni yesterday.

In a veiled reference to the tactics of NUM rival Amcu, Baleni said "mining companies [have] rewarded anarchy".

Platinum miner Lonmin last year granted wage increases of up to 22% after weeks of wildcat strikes and often violent unrest, and without recourse to regular bargaining structures.

Attempts to get an indication from Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa of what his union would demand were unsuccessful.

The union's treasurer, Jimmy Gama, refused talk numbers or set dates, and merely said Amcu was consulting its members.

According to the Chamber of Mines' head of industrial relations, Elize Strydom, it usually takes about three weeks from receipt of a pay demand by the chamber for it to talk to its members and then return to the unions with the employers' responses.

The NUM is the dominant union in gold and coal mining but Amcu has made significant inroads and has become the majority union at some mines, such as Harmony's Kusasalethu.

The NUM's demands of a 15% wage increase in most job categories, and a 60% increase for entry-level workers, will add to cost pressures already borne by the mines, such as big electricity price increases.

Baleni said the 60% demand was not being made as part of a strategy for attracting members or preventing members defecting to Amcu.

"Our members feel that the floor is too low," he said.

"The entry-level issue is not a new thing. It has been going for 12 or 13 years," he said.

In the platinum sector, Amcu has overtaken the NUM in membership and last week demanded that NUM vacate its offices at Lonmin.

The violence and work stoppages at platinum mines prompted ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to appeal for calm yesterday.

"We don't think employers should be biased in favour of the NUM over Amcu. What we are saying is that, in any area where there is more than one union in a company, all of them must play according to rules," he said.

Ratings agency Moody's downgraded South Africa after the platinum sector strikes spread to the gold mines last year.

Two weeks later, Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's long-term foreign currency and local currency credit ratings.

Ratings agency Fitch also downgraded South Africa earlier this year, citing deteriorating growth performance, which it said was likely to affect public finances, and worsen social and political tensions.

Downgradings put pressure on the borrowing costs of the government and of big public enterprises such as Eskom and Transnet.

The gold sector yesterday showed strain on the stock exchange.

Investment Solutions strategist Chris Hart tweeted from China yesterday that the gold mining industry "faces a major crisis of survival" .

AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold and Sibanye Gold (formerly Gold Fields) were all hit by wildcat strikes last year.

In early morning trading, the gold price slipped to below $1350 a troy ounce but had recovered to $1386 by late afternoon.

AngloGold Ashanti closed down more than 4% to hit a four-year low.

Harmony Gold lost more than 3% to fall to its weakest since the financial crisis of 2008.

Sibanye Gold's share price fell nearly 4% to its lowest since it listed separately from Gold Fields earlier this year.

Source: http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2013/05/21/reward-for-anarchy-sees-rand-on-the-run
 

akescpt

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its been going on for years. it was never sustainable. they will toy toy again and get their nice increases. just happened with the busses. they got their double digit increase. meanwhile corporate employees get a back on the back and 'enjoy that 5% increase'. while the companies posts >25% profit increases. f***ing joke.
 
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Ockie

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Dear god. And it will most likely get much worse.

:(
 

w1z4rd

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What do miners get paid in Australia? Why arnt our miners getting the same?

It costs $900 an ounce to pull gold out the ground in South Africa. It is selling currently $1397. Thats almost $500 per ounce that capital has to work with still.

I hate violent strikes but in a country as unequal as SA... violence is going to happen. Its pretty terrible because violence is never the answer and debases their cause of fighting for a fair living wage.

I am reminded not to blindly hate unions by these quotes:

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
~Abraham Lincoln

“It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

“If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
 

TJ99

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I can just imagine my boss's face if I ask him for a 60% increase for doing exactly the same job exactly the same way.
 

air

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It costs $900 an ounce to pull gold out the ground in South Africa. It is selling currently $1397. Thats almost $500 per ounce that capital has to work with still.

please provide link to $900 'quote'.
Ta
air
 

Cius

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What do miners get paid in Australia? Why arnt our miners getting the same?

Are you kidding me? They are educated machine operators that are far more efficient than our workers. I know a guy that closed down his company in SA after his employees unionized and essentially stopped working. He fired 20 people, moved to the USA, started up the same business, and has similar levels of production now but with only 4 American workers doing the work. His profit margins are higher as the Americans work hard, and he does not now need to weigh every box between departments to try stop theft. Each employee has a key to the premises and locks up when they leave. That is the difference between first world workers and us. We have some of the least productive and trustworthy workers in the world here, hence they get paid less.
 

w1z4rd

Karmic Sangoma
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Messages
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Are you kidding me? They are educated machine operators that are far more efficient than our workers. I know a guy that closed down his company in SA after his employees unionized and essentially stopped working. He fired 20 people, moved to the USA, started up the same business, and has similar levels of production now but with only 4 American workers doing the work. His profit margins are higher as the Americans work hard, and he does not now need to weigh every box between departments to try stop theft. Each employee has a key to the premises and locks up when they leave. That is the difference between first world workers and us. We have some of the least productive and trustworthy workers in the world here, hence they get paid less.

Must be nice for those miners to be able to afford to become that qualified. We inherited much unskilled labor due to our history.
 

Nether

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Joined
Jan 15, 2007
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1,240
What do miners get paid in Australia? Why arnt our miners getting the same?

It costs $900 an ounce to pull gold out the ground in South Africa. It is selling currently $1397. Thats almost $500 per ounce that capital has to work with still.

I hate violent strikes but in a country as unequal as SA... violence is going to happen. Its pretty terrible because violence is never the answer and debases their cause of fighting for a fair living wage.

I am reminded not to blindly hate unions by these quotes:

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
~Abraham Lincoln

“It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

“If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

+1

Rich people don't understand, but I commend anyone to at least try to work as a miner for yourself before judging poor people living in poverty.

Their desperation will cause a lot of damage, because their education doesn't allow them to realise this.
 

LazyLion

King of de Jungle
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Messages
104,620
Must be nice for those miners to be able to afford to become that qualified. We inherited much unskilled labor due to our history.

Yeah, like those kids we sent to Cuba to get a Medical degree.... and they went on strike! :rolleyes:
 

w1z4rd

Karmic Sangoma
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+1

Rich people don't understand, but I commend anyone to at least try to work as a miner for yourself before judging poor people living in poverty.

Their desperation will cause a lot of damage, because their education doesn't allow them to realise this.

Exactly right. Expect to see much short sighted thinly veiled racism in this thread.
 

Nether

Expert Member
Joined
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Messages
1,240
Are you kidding me? They are educated machine operators that are far more efficient than our workers. I know a guy that closed down his company in SA after his employees unionized and essentially stopped working. He fired 20 people, moved to the USA, started up the same business, and has similar levels of production now but with only 4 American workers doing the work. His profit margins are higher as the Americans work hard, and he does not now need to weigh every box between departments to try stop theft. Each employee has a key to the premises and locks up when they leave. That is the difference between first world workers and us. We have some of the least productive and trustworthy workers in the world here, hence they get paid less.

Remember, they are like this because they are desperate, how can they be satisfied such as the USA workers with no future and no education?

Not that i'm taking the unions side at all, I see some rather disturbing manipulation by them.
 

Nod

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What do miners get paid in Australia? Why arnt our miners getting the same?

I did a quick search:
From: http://westjobs.com.au/jobseeker/mining-jobs-no-experience.html
Unskilled mining jobs in WA

There are examples of professionals with years of experience and skills from unrelated industries changing their profession to reap the benefits of larger salaries. With the right information, mindset and some related skills, you may be able to approach mine companies such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton and secure a job with training. Salaries can be good for unskilled mining jobs with no experience, these can pay $1,200 - $2,000 a week. The average salary in the mining industry is currently about $90,000 per year with many jobs exceeding $150,000 per year.
But, here comes the catch:
All the mining hot spots like Gorgon Gas Project, Karratha, Port Hedland, Mount Isa and Kalgoorlie are facing massive workforce shortages. The unskilled labour shortage has been so high; that the Australian Government has in the past ran pilot programs offering incentives to unemployed people to move to Western Australia to take up unskilled mining jobs. This is not the case at the moment, but may well happen again as the skills shortage is being widely reported and could affect Western Australia's mineral wealth and prosperity. If you are looking for a career in mining in WA and live outside of the state, then the WA government's site for the Department of Training and Workforce Development does contain good information of worker needs and trends.
In SA we do not have a shortage of unskilled workers. Supply and demand will determine salaries.

Another source: http://www.miningcareers.com.au/make_a_start/where_do_I_begin
Are there jobs for people with no experience?

Yes, but these jobs are very limited. You can be lucky and get a break if you live close to a mining operation and/or know someone working in the industry. It is far better to get some qualifications and experience first. Often companies will engage people without specific mining experience or qualifications at the base level and recruit and train for other positions from these worker ranks.

Many mining companies use contracting companies to employ skilled operators or tradespeople. A First Aid qualification is valuable as this is an extremely safety conscious industry.

It is important to note that mining operations around Australia have zero drug and alcohol tolerance.

So who do they look for?
What qualifications do I need if I am looking for a skilled, trade or operator position?

People with relevant and recent experience are highly sought after;
TAFE accredited Certificates - level III or higher in relevant areas;
Heavy vehicle (HR) licence and previous experience operating heavy machinery;
People with a recently acquired first aid certificate and a pre-employment medical examination, give themselves an added advantage;
Mining and Resource Contractors Safety Training Association (MARCSTA) accreditation;
 
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