Gold workers set to down tools

2011-07-28 10:34

Gold workers will down tools today at 6pm, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said wage talks deadlocked on Monday night, resulting in the union issuing a strike notice.

NUM and the United Association of SA (Uasa) have demanded a 14% wage increase, while Solidarity wants 12%.

Uasa spokesman Franz Stehring said the union was not yet on strike but would issue its strike notice today.

Uasa represented between 15 000 and 20 000 workers in the sector, all of them skilled, he said.

The union was taking a “phasing in” approach to the strike – its workers at the Evander and Kalgold mines would down tools on Sunday. Should no settlement be reached, the strike would extend to its members at other mines.

Kalgold and Evander are both part of Harmony Gold.

Stehring said Uasa would participate in talks on Friday aimed at ending the wage dispute.

Harmony Gold spokeswoman Marian van der Walt said talks with the unions would be ongoing to resolve the dispute and confirmed that workers were set to down tools at 6pm.

She said reports that workers at the Evander mine had already gone on strike were not true.

Operations at the Harmony mines were set to close, she said. Assets would be secured and measures taken to make sure expenditure was minimised.

Harmony offered 8.5% to entry-level workers, 7.5% to mid-level, and seven percent for miners, artisans and officials.

Anglogold Ashanti and Gold Fields have offered the lowest-paid workers an increase of nine percent, middle categories 8.5% and the highest categories eight percent.

Rand Uranium tabled an 8.5% offer for the lowest, eight percent for the middle and seven percent for the highest categories.

The final offers were made at negotiations facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

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