National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said it’s deadlocked over pay with the producers after numerous rounds of negotiations.
The dispute will be referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and sets the path toward a legal, protected strike, the NUM said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.
“We have reached a stage whereby we understand that the employers are not prepared to give a better offer to the employees,” he said.
South Africa’s gold mines are the world’s deepest and among the most labour intensive, leaving producers struggling to reduce costs. The companies involved in the collective bargaining directly employ about 80 000 workers, according to Minerals Council South Africa, a lobby group for the producers.
The NUM is demanding R9 450 a month for surface workers, R10 450 for underground workers and a 14.5% increase for miners, artisans and officials.
The Solidarity union also rejected the latest offers “in principle,” but will continue with negotiations, it said in a separate emailed statement.
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