In light of the dispute between trade union Solidarity and the Chamber of Mines taking place in the gold wage negotiations, Solidarity has called on the various mining companies involved in this year’s coal wage negotiations to negotiate directly with the trade unions in future.

According to Deon Reyneke, Solidarity’s head of energy, direct talks between the employers and unions would prevent the Chamber of Mines from “thwarting” the coal negotiations, as displayed  in this year’s gold negotiations, he said.

The bad faith actions of the Chamber of Mines at the gold wage negotiations once again confirms that it is not a reliable role player in the negotiating process, he said in a statement on Thursday.

The Chamber is currently in a deadlock with unions in the gold wage negotiations and has referred the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for mediation.

While the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the National Union of Mineworkers and UASA declared formal disputes with gold producers AngloGold Ashanti, Evander Gold, Harmony Gold and Sibanye Gold, after rejecting the final offer, Solidarity said it would accept the deal, which the Chamber later rejected, as the offer only remained contingent on the acceptance of all the unions represented in the gold sector.

“This action casts suspicion on the integrity of the Chamber and similar problems at the coal negotiations could be prevented if the Chamber, as an unreliable role-player, is removed,” Reyneke explained.

The Chamber said in a statement that the gold producers will seek to continue its engagement with all four unions under the auspices of the CCMA in a constructive manner, with a view to concluding an agreement that will take into account the sustainability of the industry for the benefit of the employers, employees, our communities and the country as a whole.

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