NUM could go on strike

By Drum Digital
29 August 2013

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was in talks with its members on Thursday about the possibility of embarking on a strike in the gold sector next week.

"By tomorrow [Friday] we should know what the consensus from our members is," NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said.

"If they want to strike, we will send a notice of strike action to the Chamber of Mines, but we have to look at other avenues of engagement."

On Tuesday, the union rejected "with contempt" the final pay offer made by the chamber.

At the time, Seshoka said the offer was a joke and that the chamber was being ridiculous.

Gold mining companies, represented by the Chamber of Mines, had offered a basic increase of 6.5 percent for category four and five employees, including rock drill operators.

The chamber offered six percent on the basic wage of category six to eight employees, and to miners and artisans, and officials.

In addition, accommodation allowances would be increased in accordance with the consumer price index.

The gold mining companies were AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Rand Uranium, Harmony Gold, Evander Gold, Sibanye Gold, and Village Main Reef.

Trade union Solidarity said the chamber lost its moral and ethical compass after breaking an agreement with the union to declare negotiations deadlocked.

"The chamber therefore failed to give Solidarity presentations on the various mining houses' secret gain-sharing schemes this morning," general secretary Gideon du Plessis said in a statement.

"Neither did the chamber give feedback on Solidarity's request for an extension until the end of next week in order to consult its members on the chamber's final offer."

Du Plessis said the chamber had given collective bargaining a "deathblow" when it refused to negotiate with Solidarity.

He said the union was still committed to a negotiated settlement.

"It is clear that the chamber was following the lockout route which could lead to a brutal strike by aggrieved miners of other unions," he said.

"The chamber will probably make the announcement at a press conference this afternoon."

He said the union appealed to the Chamber of Mines to not take any drastic steps which could undermine collective bargaining.

-Sapa

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