Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 31 May 2010 – A wage dispute between South Africa’s biggest mineworkers’ union “’ the National Union for Mineworkers (NUM) “’ and diamond mining giant the De Beers Group has been resolved.
“The company and the NUM have settled the dispute and the parties will meet this week to formalise the agreement reached,” said spokesperson Tom Tweedy.
A statement issued by the company said employees in the A (lowest salary level) and B bands would receive a 10% increase and C band members 9.5%. The minimum basic wage would rise from R5 000 to R5 500 per month, which was the starting level in the A band job category.
It added that a rotational shift allowance would be paid to qualifying employees, to be increased to 8% of an employee’s basic wage.
The settlement would be back-dated from May 1.
Earlier the NUM issued a statement stating its members were going to embark on indefinite industrial action at all De Beers operations countrywide, including Voorspoed, Finsch, Namaqualand and Venetia yesterday The union wanted a 15% increase, but De Beers offered eight.
The NUM said it had been issued with a certificate of non-resolution of its wage dispute with the diamond giant by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
De Beers disputed this, saying no certificate of non-resolution had been issued and that CCMA negotiations were ongoing.
“De Beers appreciates the mediation role carried out by the CCMA,” said Wayne Smerdon, industrial relations head at De Beers. “We sought to find common ground with the NUM negotiating team and we have reached that point,” he added.
The settlement affected 1 587 employees in the bargaining unit on De Beers’ five mines in South Africa. The company had a total of 5 500 employees in the country.