Idwala staff pickets over demands

2018-03-22 06:01
In a meeting with the workers are National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leaders (from left); Muzi Zakwe, Musa Goqo and Peter Bailey.PHOTO: precious gumede

In a meeting with the workers are National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leaders (from left); Muzi Zakwe, Musa Goqo and Peter Bailey.PHOTO: precious gumede

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FINANCIAL dissatisfaction among Idwala Carbonates staff and the employer has led to workers protesting for more that two weeks.

Protestors claim that the employer failed to address their demands, pertaining to wage negotiations.

On Thursday last week workers and the National Union of Mine workers (NUM) leadership gathered in Murchison to discuss a way forward. Regional secretary Muzi Zakwe said it was top priority that the union meets with the employer before the strike escalates.

He said every mining company has issues with the community and to avoid the community from joining the strike and raising their own concerns, a meeting should be arranged as soon as possible.

THEIR DEMANDS ARE:

• A wage increment - demanding 8 % increase or 15% of the monthly remuneration

• A housing allowance - demanding R4000 a month instead of the R1000 they are being give

• A shift allowance – demanding R1300 per month for all shift workers.

He said, according to staff, that all these demands were meant to be implemented at the beginning of January, however no agreement had been reached.

“They [employees] alleged that when the majority of staff were employed at Idwala, they were on temporary contracts. When the contracts were renewed and the they were permanently employed, they noticed that there were wage differences among the workers. “Employees said some of the staff not with Num got higher salaries that that of Num. Those receiving higher salaries were with the union known as the United Association of South Africa (UASA Trade Union),” said Zakwe.

He said the main issues is that the workers cannot get proper hosing for their families.

“The housing allowance is not enough for them to get houses neither does it give them an option to apply for home loans. The workers are earning too much to qualify for RDP houses, yet too little to get the well-deserved home loans from banks,” he said

Zakwe said at this point there is no progress and they are calling on other members of the union to lobby with them in the fight for what is right.

Pam Lindsay, Head of Human Resources at Idwala did confirm the strike saying, Num members have gone on strike. She said the strike is continuing.

“Regrettably, we reached a deadlock with our majority union during December relating to wage negotiations and have not been able to resolve this issue with the union.

We are hopeful that we will resolve this situation shortly.” said Lindsay.

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