Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 June 2010 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) “’ which has just signed a wage agreement with De Beers “’ has now warned the diamond giant that it will fight plans to retrench more than 350 workers at its Finsch mine in the Northern Cape.
The NUM said in a statement here that De Beers had issued an irregular section 189 notice notifying its workforce of its intention to sack the workers.
“The diamond giant, which has this morning settled its wage dispute with the NUM, is now faced with an even bigger battle as the NUM intends to fight off the envisaged retrenchments,” said the trade union yesterday.
NUM’s regional secretary in Kimberly Tshimane Montoedi said a war was looming. “When De Beers engaged us, it spoke of unfavourable economic conditions, referring to the recession, but the recession is over now,” he claimed.
The NUM wants De Beers to revisit its strategy and reverse its intention to retrench the workers.
In the meantime, the signing of the wage agreement yesterday averted a strike at the De Beers South African operations. The NUM had planned to strike on Sunday last week but last minute negotiations with De Beers meant the strike was postponed for three days.
Originally, the NUM had demanded a 15% pay increase against De Beers’ offer of 8%. But the diamond giant’s latest offer will see increases of between 9.5% and 10% implemented.