Gold sector wage talks referred to CCMA

2011-07-14 11:16

Failed wage talks in the gold sector resulted in the matter being referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) today, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said.

“It was referred to them today and now we are just waiting for them to give us a date as to when both parties can meet with them,” said spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.

“If no agreement is reached, the CCMA will give us a non-resolution certificate, allowing us to embark on a strike action.”
Seshoka said this was the final leg for workers.

The NUM, the United Association of SA (Uasa) and Solidarity represent about 140 000 employees working for Chamber of Mines member companies such as AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold Mining and Gold Fields.

Yesterday unions refused the latest wage offer and declared a dispute with the Chamber of Mines.

AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields had upped their offer to a 5.5% wage increase for the lowest-paid employees and 5% for the rest.

Harmony and Rand Uranium offered 5.3% for the lowest-paid employees and 4.8% for the others.

The NUM and Uasa wanted a wage increase of 14%, while Solidarity wanted 12%. Seshoka said talks would probably deadlock because wage offers in the coal sector had always been better than the gold industry.

He said the union had already mobilised its members for a possible strike as it believed the chamber was dragging its feet on salary negotiations.

Solidarity submitted a lower figure in light of the production environment and the 4.6% consumer price inflation.

It felt its figure, although still above inflation, would help retain skilled employees.

The chamber recently said production in the gold mining industry had consistently declined and it faced pressure from the high costs of electricity, water and fuel.

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