Anglo American and Glencore face coal pay strike

Cape Town - South African coal producers and the main union representing their workers failed to reach an agreement on wages and the labour group has been given permission to call a strike.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents producers including Anglo American’s [JSE:AGL] coal unit and Glencore [JSE:GLN], met with the National Union of Mineworkers on Wednesday. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration issued a certificate of non-resolution to the dispute, the two sides confirmed in separate statements.

“Negotiations between the NUM and the Chamber of Mines have officially collapsed,” the union said in its statement. The NUM leadership will report back to members and issue a notice to go on strike in due course, it said.

Following a number of revised offers during negotiations that started in July, the companies put forward a three-year deal last month. The chamber called the proposal fair and reasonable and said coal workers are among the highest paid in the mining industry.

“The employers presented revised offers in an attempt to settle the dispute” at Wednesday’s meeting, the chamber said in an emailed response to questions. “The parties could not reach agreement.”

The NUM represents about 70% of the 14 000 workers involved in centralised collective bargaining with the chamber, according to the lobby. The entire coal mining sector has about 70 000 employees, it said.

The union has maintained demands for a one-time payment of R1 100 rand, an 8% pay increase for 2018 and 9% for the following year, the labour group said.

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