A convertor furnace
at Impala Platinum
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 20 August 2010 – The biggest mining trade union in South Africa “’ the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) “’ says it could sign a new wage deal with Impala Platinum as early as tomorrow, after ironing out some differences on pensions and housing allowances.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said workers had in principle accepted a 7.5% pay rise offer for miners in the high income bracket and 8% for those in the lower category.

“We believe 7.5 to 8% is good because it is almost double the inflation rate,” he explained.

“But the members want the negotiating team to re-look at the improvements on pensions and housing allowances, and to consider signing the agreement, possibly tomorrow. We need to work on the demands as one set.”

The NUM is demanding R1 700 in housing allowance for its members and an improvement in pension contributions. Impala management and the NUM have been in talks for more than three weeks to end the deadlock and avoid a possible strike at the world’s second-largest platinum producer.

A strike vote at Impala two weeks ago showed that members were split over whether to go through with a planned labour action.

“The strike still hangs on Impala, but we don’t see a strike action if the company lives up to its indications,” Seshoka said.

Africa’s biggest economy has been hit by a wave of strikes and strike threats in both the private and public sector that have led to above inflation settlements, raising fears that the cost of living will rise. South Africa’s inflation rate was at 4.2% in June.