Johannesburg, South Africa — 05 July 2013 – Workers at mining giant De Beers in South Africa will go on strike from tonight over pay, becoming the latest miners to down tools following the Glencore Xstrata plc employees walkout in May.
Strikes will go ahead at the Voorspoed operation in Free State province, Kimberley in Northern Cape province and Venetia in Limpopo province, even as talks continue, says National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) negotiator Peter Bailey. The action will also affect the company’s trading arm, Diamond Trading Co., reports Bloomberg News.
The union gave notice July 3 after meeting with De Beers representatives. The action follows a walkout at Glencore’s South African chrome operations after a supervisor was accused of assault. Tensions throughout the country’s mining industry remain high as companies and unions square up in regular wage talks at a time of weakening commodity demand and soaring costs.
Discussions between De Beers, which is a unit of Anglo American Plc, and union representatives have continued since the strike notice was delivered, Bailey said by telephone. The NUM is demanding a wage increase of 13%, while the company has offered 6%, according to the union. Workers are also seeking more leave.
De Beers spokesman Tom Tweedy didn’t answer a call or immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. De Beers Consolidated Mines has 2,550 employees with 1,300 represented by the union, he said yesterday in an e-mail.
De Beers’s South African mines account for about 16% of the company’s total carats recovered. It also has operations in Botswana, Canada and Namibia.
Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.