Finsch mine “’ one of
the operations which
would be affected by
a strike
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 04 May 2010 – South Africa’s biggest trade union said “’ the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) “’ says it has declared a wage dispute with the world’s top diamond producer, De Beers, and has asked an arbitration authority to mediate.

The NUM said in a statement here that it had declared the dispute after talks with De Beers “’ 45% owned by mining giant Anglo American “’ broke down on Friday, and added that it wanted the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to help the parties reach an agreement. “Failure to do so would lead to a strike,” the union said.

De Beers said it hoped the CCMA could help bridge the gap. “It’s part of the process. We think that going to the CCMA might expedite things,” De Beers’ Johannesburg-based spokesman Tom Tweedy told Reuters. He said the wage talks had started last week.

The NUM is demanding a 15% wage increment, a 5% increase in shift allowance and a 5% increment on continuous operations, while De Beers has so far offered an 8% increment, the NUM said.

South Africa’s inflation rate stands at 5.1%.

“The time has now arrived for us to tackle De Beers. I don’t see how we can’t give them a strike action this time around,” said NUM chief negotiator at De Beers Peter Bailey.

De Beers reported a strong first quarter to the end of March with sales five times the level of last year, but is still cautious about the global recovery.