Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 09 October 2008 – Close to 10 000 miners are downing tools today at two South African gold mines – at one to honour the recent death of a colleague, and at the other because of a failure to resolve an ongoing wage dispute.
Reporting from here, Reuters said South Africa’s biggest miners’ union – the National Union of Mineworks (NUM) – had confirmed that 5 000 members were staying away from work today at AngloGold Ashanti’s TauTona mine. This action was to mark the death of a colleague who died in an accident last week.
AngoGold – which is Africa’s top gold producer – announced last week that a worker had died at the TauTona mine near Johannesburg when a tunnel collapsed.
The NUM has been putting pressure on mining companies to take greater action to prevent workers’ deaths. Since last year, whenever a miner dies, union members at the mine stop work for one day to mark the death, and to urge the company to improve safety. NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said a memorial service was being held this morning, and that there would be no work afterwards.
Meanwhile at Pamodzi Gold’s East Rand operations over 4500 mineworkers will be downing tools at 14h00 today, after parties failed to resolve the dispute over wages. The operations concerned are Grootvlei; Cons Modder and Sub-Nigel.
The NUM had tabled a wage demand of 12% as well as equalisation of wages between former Jongingozi employees and old Pamodzi Gold employees. The union further demanded that the provident fund contribution be raised from the current 5% to 10% by the employer.
Reuters reports that the NUM took the matter to the CCMA and received a certificate of non-resolution. It is with that in mind that workers will down tools this afternoon.