Northam Platinum seeks NUM meeting to end Limpopo strike

2014-01-06 13:51

Northam Platinum has sought a meeting with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to try to end the strike at the Zondereinde platinum mine in Limpopo.

The NUM’s latest demands tabled at a CCMA meeting on December 7 amounted to an average increase of 16% in wages and a 69% increase in the living-out allowance, Northam said in a statement today.

Such an increase remained unaffordable for the company and was not in line with the settlements reached in the gold sector and at several other platinum producers.

NUM chief negotiator Ecliff Tantsi said he was not sure how the company had calculated the union’s demands.

He said “Our demands had been received before we left for Christmas. You will recall that we demanded [an increase of] R1 900 for non-core workers and R1 800 for core workers.”

As a compromise, the union said the R1 900 and R1 800 wage increases could be implemented over a two-year period.

“That is what we presented to them,” said Tantsi. “They presented a revised offer, which we rejected, of a three-year deal based on our demands. If we can resolve that, then I think we can reach a solution.”

Northam said the company had lost R500 million in revenue and employees had lost about R100 million in wages since the strike began at the mine on November 3 last year.

“Shareholders will be kept informed of any progress,” it said.

Tantsi said when the parties last met, the union said it would be ready to meet again in the new year under the auspices of the CCMA.

“I think what they are saying is inconsistent with what we agreed when we met,” said Tantsi. “We would need to agree to a date.”

He said it was in the interests of all parties to find a settlement.

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