[img:HandA.thumbnail.jpg| ]Johannesburg, South Africa --- 02 October 2013 - The Chamber of Mines of South Africa has announced that trade unions representing workers in the country’s coal mining sector have signed a wage deal with producers.
“After facilitation under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), unions accepted and signed the final offers tabled by coal producers,” the chamber announced in a statement reported by BDlive.
Coal producers agreed to increase wages by at least 8.5% for workers in categories four and five.
“Workers at Anglo American Thermal Coal and Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga in categories four and five will receive a 9.5% increase, while workers in categories six, seven, and eight, miners, artisans, and officials would receive an 8.5% increase.”
said the sustainability of the mines, depending on the size of the operations, informed the different percentages.
“We looked at how the company was structured and placed focus on the mine’s affordability and sustainability … Smaller operations would not afford what larger operations could,” said chamber chief negotiator Motsamai Motlhamme.
All companies, except for Msobo Coal, Koornfontein, and Optimum, would increase wages by 1% above the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in 2014, with a guaranteed minimum of 8%. The deal was valid for two years.
“The CPI figures for the months of December 2013 to May 2014 will be examined … the months with the highest and lowest CPI will be discounted,” the chamber said.
“The resulting figure based on this formula will be deemed to be CPI for the purposes of this wage agreement.”
The coal producers represented by the chamber were Anglo American Thermal Coal, Exxaro Coal, Umsobo Coal, Kangra Coal, Delmas Coal, Glencore-Xstrata which includes Optimum, Koornfontein, and former Xstrata operations.
Unions involved were the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity, and UASA.
[img:Coal%20gh_0.jpg|One of Anglo
African coal operations]Johannesburg, South Africa --- 08 November 2012 - Coal companies in South Africa have signed a surprise wage deal with trade unions in an effort to avoid the further spread of a wave of deadly illegal strikes that have rocked the country's gold and platinum sectors.
Reuters quotes the Chamber of Mines as saying that the companies, which include Anglo American, have agreed to raise certain entry-level wages by up to 5%, and have offered one-off payments to higher categories of workers.
The main wage agreements in the coal sector do not expire until the middle of next year, but militant unions have ignored existing contracts in platinum and gold, leading to rolling wildcat action that has led to the killing of around 50 deaths so far this year, most of them shot dead by police.
Chamber deputy head of industrial relations Phillemon Motlhamme said the body that represented the industry had been approached by unions in September to ensure that illegal strikes would not spread to coal.
“The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the other two unions asked how we can strengthen our collective bargaining framework and ensure continuous stability in the coal sector,” he explained.
The NUM â€’ South Africa's dominant mining union â€’ also wants to shore up its own base, given that the unrest that has gripped the platinum sector has its roots in a turf war between it and the militant new Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).
“This deal is being used by the NUM to reassert its relevance. It is desperate to stem that crisis because its position, which always seemed so secure, has suddenly been shaken,” said Loane Sharp, a labour economist at staffing firm Adcorp.
Salaries will be raised by 5% for entry-level employees at Anglo, Kangra Coal, Xstrata Coal, and Exxaro's Mpumalanga operations, effective as of 1 November.
Exxaro will give smaller wage increases to workers in other categories, while Anglo, Kangra, Optimum Coal and Xstrata have offered a one-off payments of R2,000 to workers in higher levels.
While there were some disruptions recently to operations at small coal mines due to legal strikes, most companies in the sector have not been affected.
If the unrest did spread to coal mines, it would have an impact reaching far beyond the industry. Some 85% of South Africa's electricity is generated by coal-fired plants.
Anglo American Platinum, the world's top producer of the precious metal, is still struggling to get more than 30,000 workers back to work as an illegal strike at its Rustenburg operations now in its eighth week.