HomeCoalChamber of Mines and unions fall out over decentralised coal wage negotiations

Chamber of Mines and unions fall out over decentralised coal wage negotiations

The Chamber of Mines said that a meeting took place between the parties on 31 January 2017 and “regrettably” an agreement could not be reached during the coal wage negotiations process.

The Chamber said that the coal companies it represented, namely Anglo American Coal, Msobo Coal, Delmas Coal, Exarro Coal Mpumalanga, Kangra Coal, Koornfontein Mines and Glencore Operations SA, had previously indicated their intention to negotiate wages and terms and conditions of employment on a decentralised basis with effect from 2017.

The representative unions, namely the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA, have however disputed this.

On Tuesday, Solidarity accused the Chamber of negotiating in bad faith stating that it had reversed its stance regarding the structure of the negotiations, which it had communicated to the unions on 20 January when Solidarity and other trade unions met with the Chamber of Mines.

Solidarity deputy general secretary of the mining industry Connie Prinsloo, on Wednesday called for the Chamber of Mines and the relevant coal mining companies to reconsider their decision to exchange the practice of central collective bargaining in the coal mining sector, which had been applied for decades, for a decentralised model.

“It is of key importance that those who are mandating both these players reconsider their shortsightedness, which is unsettling labour relations, in order to avert a possible strike in the coal mining sector,” Prinsloo said.

NUM iterated this dissatisfaction stating that it would refer the matter to the CCMA as a matter of urgency.

NUM chief negotiator in the coal sector, Peter Bailey, said the NUM will commence with picketing from now on and soon after the CCMA has intervened and issued a certificate to strike it will then embark on a national strike.

“The strike process will not be resolved until the Chamber of Mines withdraws its notification and until it negotiates with unions in good faith. If the Chamber of Mines wants an unproductive mining industry, if it is in search of the collapse of the coal sector industry and if the Chamber of Mines wants anarchy we can respond with anarchy,” Bailey warned.

The Chamber said that it remains open to further engagements with the unions on the matter.

“As a member-representative organisation, the Chamber has engaged with the unions on the basis of its members’ interests and mandates and it has done so with a view to reaching a mutually agreeable outcome. The Chamber of Mines will continue to act on this basis.”