Cosatu, NUM to lead wage struggle

2012-09-29 21:31

Johannesburg - Cosatu and the NUM would lead the way in fighting for better wages for mineworkers in all sectors, the trade federation's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Saturday.

"[The national union of mineworkers] will go now to the forefront and will lead the struggle of mineworkers across of all the sectors of the mining sector," Vavi told miners near Carletonville.

He said the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) would lead the struggle of all workers in the country.

"The wages have been suppressed for far too long. It is now time for us to take the battle to where it belongs. To the employer."

Gold Fields strike

Vavi was addressing hundreds of striking Gold Fields workers gathering at the KDC west mine.

Workers at Gold Fields have been on strike for 20 days and demanded a monthly pay of R12 500 after deductions.

He said the R12 500 salary for rock drillers was a fair and legitimate demand "and we must pursue that amount together".

Vavi added that Cosatu was not calling for an illegal mining strike, but said the federation was urging the Chamber of Mines to come to the negotiation table.

"To us it seems we have no choice but to open [wage] negotiations now."

Otherwise the chamber risked continued wildcat strikes across the mining sector, Vavi said.

Vavi said the leadership of Cosatu and NUM would meet with the Chamber of Mines on Monday morning. The leaders would hold a press briefing later in the day.

There would also be a strike in Klerksdorp on Wednesday.

"We are going to lead a march of workers in the entire Klerksdorp region on Wednesday," Vavi said.

"The message is one. Let's combine our effort."

He said this support would stretch to all mining sectors.

Vavi said what he wanted for workers, along with wage demands, was to have improved working conditions and weaknesses in unions to be resolved.

He was specifically referring to women at Gold Fields who approached him saying they were exploited by shop stewards when applying for benefits after their husbands died. Some said they were asked for sexual favours in return for forms to be completed.

"It can't happen. [These women] must have their issues addressed by the end of this week," Vavi said.

He added that Cosatu's chairperson would be part of a meeting held this coming week to resolve this.


Before Vavi's arrival the miners sang and danced in anticipation.

Some were carrying posters which read: "We can't go back to work tomorrow without R12 500, equalisation, keys from NUM office, original pay slips", "We can't vote ANC if Zuma send police to kill us" and "R12  500 or die. Without R12 500 we can't mine."

One of the miner's representatives Sibongile Ngqwena said they called Vavi to the mine on Saturday because their leaders have let them down.

"We called Mr Vavi today because we need support from Mr Vavi, because we need this R12 500, because we don't have the support from NUM leadership. He promised to come and give us this support."

Last week NUM president Senzeni Zokwana told striking mineworkers the union would meet the Chamber of Mines to discuss wages of mine workers nationally.

He said they would discuss a minimum wage for workers in both the coal and gold mining sector.

However, Ngqwena said they have not heard anything from him. "Since he came here he failed to support us, he failed to represent us."

Earlier this month, Gold Fields secured a court interdict to end the wildcat strike. The court found that the strike was unlawful and ordered that workers return to work immediately.

Spokesperson Sven Lunsche said the court order had been ignored.

  • sthembiso.jali.58 - 2012-09-29 22:15

    hipocrits, it was immoral of juju 2 support illegal strikes but vavi

      senzo.mathebula - 2012-09-29 22:36

      Completely agree with u Jali - 2012-09-30 12:36

      Vavi is not supporting illegal strikes, hes seeing the big picture. Vavi has more savvy and discipline than Zuma and Malema put together, hes knows how fragile these mining strikes are and hes going to come up with a plan to restore peace and productivity for all. Vavi is the man for this job, the other ANC thugs like Malema has no business with these mines, hamba!!

  • Neal Sing - 2012-09-29 22:29

    Lead the workers where!A normal worker achieved what you guys could never dream of achieving-put money into peoples hands-now you guys want to jump on the bandwagon and pretend that you achieved this thing!

      max.reynecke - 2012-09-29 22:51

      Well said!

  • ernest.lwandle - 2012-09-29 22:34

    mhh ilike the scratch on his forehead what does it shows?

      sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-09-29 22:36

      @ Ernest, maybe he is thinking too much.

      ernest.lwandle - 2012-09-29 22:45

      not the exit gate for his few remaining braincells

  • gerhardus.windpomp - 2012-09-29 22:36

    yay, one uneducated group leading another uneducated group. I see dumb people.

  • davy.botha - 2012-09-29 22:48

    No it is not that he does not know that what he is doing is wrong, it is just that he does not want cosatu to become irrelevant, rather do the wrong thing and tell yourself it is for the right reason, Vavi now you cannot claim to be on the moral high ground

  • adriaan.kroon.1 - 2012-09-30 07:06

    Aaaa I know!! Lets make labour costs so high to prove we can break this economy!!

  • Zahir - 2012-09-30 09:04

    I forsee thousands of job losses in next few months

  • jannie.kotze.7 - 2012-09-30 11:34

    Another brainless or brain dead idiot that is so greedy and short sighted who don't care for the country or its people. He sit on millions, so why should he care. Just another populist piece of scum.

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-09-30 12:06

    All of a sudden on the band wagon, after the Marikana miners told you to go jump. Vavi likes his home comforts after all!

  • Dikotsi Ramakhera Petrus - 2012-09-30 13:22

    Eish populist Vavi? The demand is making sense, are u really fooling these miners, publicly nogal? We dont need leaders like u

  • Mike Peach - 2012-09-30 14:18

    And a better wage means more union fees.

  • Raitor Ndo Tdk - 2012-09-30 14:26

    NUM has let down all XSTRATA Coal Mineworkers down they've been waiting for their money ESOP until today so now there will be another strike in all Xstrata Mines for that money

  • johann.enslin.9 - 2012-10-05 16:38

    AMCU instigated this and are gaining on NUM hence the COSATU action suddenly. They are shaking in their pants. Bottom line, these workers had a deal with the employers. Their word obviously means nothing. You allow it now, you screwed next year. Bottom line.

  • pieter.stander.39 - 2012-10-19 16:07

    and yesterday he took the message to the miners......their reaction? Stoning his car!! Lmao!!!

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