The Lonmin Rock Drill Operators' fiasco raised concerns and questions about pay, benefits, working conditions, living conditions, etc. We still do not have clarity and although it was LonMin Rock Drill Operators (RDOS) that went on strike, I understand that all RDOS in ZA mining are unhappy. LonMin was the catalyst.
Very many differing numbers being bandied about and rightly or wrongly, Australian and other similar overseas mining ops being compared to. Profitability of mines themselves, living standards, working conditions are not adequately described.
I've Googled RDO jobs in Australia and South Africa. Yes, the salaries are indeed way higher than the LonMin RDOs say they are getting. China/Asia wanted degreed geologists when I could find jobs and non-committal about pay. So we'll leave them out of the challenge - for now.
For those Aus jobs, I see minimum education and experience requirements. I also see a laundry list of roles and responsibilities and, more often than not, the jobs offered are contract, not permanent.
It seems to me that an RDO in Aus, might be fulfilling multiple roles compared to an RDO here. So 1 job in Aus could become 2-3 jobs in ZA. However, this is conjecture on my part.
ZA mining is deep-level mining and comes with a lot more risk and complexity than say Aus mining. So that is another issue not factored in.
It's easy to sit and look at company payrolls, payslips, living conditions etc. Far harder to determine what the inputs for that income and lifestyle are.
So here's the challenge:
The ZA/AUS Mining Unions run an exchange programme. The top AUS RDOs swop with top ZA RDOs. Say 3 people from each country. (We can include Asia/China too but the radio and TV interviews and stats thrown about seem to be all Australian-based and, to a lesser extent, the USA.)
All 6 earn the other's salary and live as their counterpart would in terms of accomm, overall lifestyle etc. Let the swop run for 1 year. They pay taxes they live as similarly as their counterpart would on that income doing the work that salary pays.
At the end of it let the workers, the Unions, the Management and especially the Press, know what the people who DO these jobs think about the work they were expected to do for the pay they received, the overall circumstances etc.
So what say you - RDOs, NUM/AMCU, Mining Companies? Up for the challenge?
And for N24 Readers - should I open a betting-book as to the response? :)
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