Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 July 2008 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is to launch a strike tomorrow, following the failure of wage talks with De Beers South Africa.
A company statement released here revealed that when De Beers met with the NUM earlier this week in an attempt to settle the 2008 annual wage negotiation, NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said: “There are significant differences.”
The union demanded a 13.5% increase and De Beers raised its offer from 10.5% to 11% for 2008. This equates to a new minimum basic salary at the top entry level (B-band) of R8 434, and at the first entry level (A-band), of R4 421. These job bands constitute the traditional bargaining unit represented by NUM.
The company also offers employees benefits such as medical cover, water and electricity allowances, housing assistance, and an attractive incentive bonus scheme, which is payable on a quarterly basis, based on exceeding targets at each of the mines.
De Beers has six major mines in South Africa” Venetia in Limpopo province, Voorspoed in the Free State, and Finsch, Namaqualand, and Kimberley mines in the Northern Cape. The NUM bargains for five of the six land based operations; and in a separate forum for employees in the deep sea mining operation known as the South African Sea Areas (SASA).
The statement went on to say that De Beers was disappointed that NUM believed its purpose might be better served by embarking on industrial action, as such action would undoubtedly affect production on mining operations, and therefore affect employees who benefited from the company’s employee incentive scheme.
“De Beers believes an amicable resolution is possible and the company is open to continue discussions with the union,” it concluded.