Johannesburg, South Africa — 26 August 2013 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has given gold producers a seven-day deadline to meet its demands, but negotiations between Solidarity and the Chamber of Mines on salary increases in the gold mining sector are scheduled to continue today.
“Solidarity will resume its effort to reach a negotiated settlement while two other unions have declared a deadlock in the negotiations, and a certificate giving them the opportunity to strike has been issued,” Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis said in a statement quoted by Fin24.
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) said on Thursday that the NUM and the United Association of SA (UASA) had rejected the chamber’s revised offer and were issued a certificate of non-resolution.
At the time NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said union members would be consulted on the negotiations and balloted on a strike.
Subsequently, the NUM has given gold producers a seven-day deadline to meet its demands or face strike action.
“You are given only seven days to respond positively to our demands, failing which we would be left with no option but to resort to lawful industrial actions,” NUM said in a memorandum presented to the Chamber of Mines after about 3,000 of its members marched through downtown Johannesburg at the weekend..
Du Plessis said Solidarity had decided not to declare a deadlock. One of the reasons was that the chamber met eight of the union’s ten “other substantive demands.”
“The salary increase percentage remains the primary focus of Solidarity’s demands, but the spirit of compliance with which the other substantive demands were met created the platform for continued negotiations," he added.
He said the employers would at some stage declare that their ‘final offer’ was on the table.
“At this point unions should also then finally deliberate on the offer. Therefore, Solidarity is of the opinion that a deadlock has not yet been reached and that the chamber is yet to make a final offer.”
Du Plessis explained that Solidarity had called on its members to take the decision on whether to strike with “great circumspection.”
“Solidarity is a members’ organisation and if our members want to take strike action at a later stage, we would honour it,” he said.
“However, Solidarity is of the opinion that emphasis should now be placed on job security and the sustainability of the gold industry, and that strike action would defeat the purpose.”
Solidarity called on the chamber to table a revised offer today.
“Solidarity is of the opinion that the chamber is withholding a substantial portion of their final offer in order to have sufficient bargaining scope to achieve a settlement during a strike,” du Plessis stated. “However, Solidarity would prefer to negotiate the final offer around the negotiating table and not in the streets,” he added.
Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.