Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 May 2009 – At the new round of wage negotiations, South Africa’s gold producers made an opening offer of a 5% wage increase which was rejected by workers who threatened to strike. Mine workers had demanded a 15% pay rise.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary Frans Baleni said in a statement here that the Chamber’s offer was an "insult" to workers. “If they continue with this dilly-dallying then we have no choice but to call an indefinite strike action,” he added.
The Chamber of Mines, which negotiates on behalf of the country’s gold producers, said its opening offer had taken into account the country’s inflation rate and the need to control costs and ensure the long-term survival of their industry.
Earlier on, South Africa’s coal producers and trade unions ran into an immediate stumbling block when they kicked off what were expected to be tough wage negotiations.
The Chamber of Mines asked for more time to make a wage offer to the country’s coal miners – a stance which has been rejected outright by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
The Chamber said its collieries members needed more time to come up with an offer, but the NUM has rejected what it calls “the Chamber of Mines’s non-offer” in the coal negotiations with the contempt they said it deserved. The NUM indicated to the Chamber that it would only return to negotiations once there was an offer.
“If this is going to be the attitude, then we have no option but to approach our members for a mandate. If that mandate means strike action, so be it,” said Baleni.