Miners ‘unhappy’ with wage deal that ended crippling 5-month strike

2014-09-11 08:51

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Platinum workers are dissatisfied with the wage agreement that ended the five-month strike within the sector, according to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

The strike, which took place between January and June, crippled the mining industry as mine workers downed tools, demanding basic monthly salaries of R12 500.

“What is the effect of the platinum settlement? What we have observed is that in the sector, the three mines [Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum, and Lonmin], there is dissatisfaction,” NUM general secretary Frans Baleni said yesterday.

“You might have seen a decline of membership of the majority union [the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union] in all three mines.”

Baleni’s comments were made after a meeting of the union’s national office bearers in Joburg.

“People are saying: ‘We are not happy about this.’ It meant having lost so many days of income and you actually lost in terms of other benefits where they had been frozen with no increase,” he said.

“The people who suffered dearly in that deal are your artisans and officials. Literally some things were taken from them in order to satisfy a particular level. So there is unhappiness.

“Obviously, people in leadership will promote it [the settlement].”

He said NUM’s approach for upcoming gold industry wage negotiations next year would be to consult their members thoroughly, and early, so NUM could arrive at the negotiating table with a clear mandate.

“We are looking at various forms analysing what they have, how we can achieve them, what should be the process [and how to resolve various issues],” he said.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum downed tools on January 23.

The strike ended on June 24 when they accepted a three-year wage deal that will increase salaries by R1 000 in the first and second year of the agreement, and R950 in the third year.

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