The twin shafts
at Tau Lekoa
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 12 June 2009 – South African mineworkers’ unions have declared a dispute with gold producers over wage increases, saying they had reached a deadlock over wage demands and would hold a strike should an arbitration authority fail to reconcile the parties.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Solidarity trade union said in separate statements that the gold producers had raised their wage offer from 6% to 7%, but both unions rejected the increase and called in the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to arbitrate. They had demanded an increase of 15%

“We’re only a step away” from a walk-out, said NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka. The union represents about 130 000 gold mineworkers.

“It has always been our intention to bargain in good faith, to try reach a settlement through negotiations, but this year it looks like we will have to use a different tool in strike action,” said NUM general secretary Frans Baleni.

The largest gold mining companies in South Africa – the world’s third-biggest producer after the United States and China – are AngloGold, Gold Fields and Harmony. The Chamber of Mines – which is negotiating with the unions on behalf of the mining companies – confirmed the dispute in a separate e-mail.