The Exxaro Sands
operation in
KwaZulu-Natal
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 26 August 2010 – The biggest South African mining trade union “’ the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) “’ says a strike at Richards Bay Minerals will get underway tomorrow.

The trade union said more than 1 700 workers were expected to participate. Richards Bay Minerals is jointly owned by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

Workers want the company to offer a 10% increment on a one-year deal, while the company insists on 8% and a three-year deal. The company said it would give workers 8% in the first year and then CPI plus 1.5% in the second and third years.

The NUM further demands that the company should increase its housing allowance from R3 200 to R4 000 a month for grade 6 to 10 workers, while the housing allowance for grade 11 to 13 workers should be increased to R6 000 a month from R5 500.

The trade union also revealed that 600 workers had downed tools at Exxaro Sands in KwaZulu-Natal. Workers there are demanding a 14% increase in their wages, while Exxaro is offering 8% inclusive of all demands.

The NUM said the strike was indefinite.

While neither of the companies has announced supply disruptions, industrial action at two of South Africa’s key titanium producers could threaten production. South Africa produces a fifth of the world’s titanium supply.