Northam platinum
mine
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 31 August 2010 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it will delay the expansion of its strikes at the Rio Tinto-BHP Billiton titanium joint venture and the Exxaro mineral sands operation to enable the companies to raise pay offers.

The union “’ which was expected to decide today whether to expand strike actions to all operations of diversified miners Exxaro and Rio Tinto following a deadlock over pay increases “’ said workers might also strike at Northam Platinum following a fresh wage dispute between the NUM and employers.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said Exxaro and Rio Tinto had both asked for fresh talks to end the pay disputes, and that the union would give the companies up to the end of this week to raise their wage offers. “If that does not happen, then surely they are going to be faced with a mass strike action,” Seshoka said

Exxaro head of mineral sands and base metals operations Trevor Arran said the company would not raise its 8% pay rise offer, but would discuss other wage-related benefits with the NUM. “There are other things on the table that we are prepared to talk to the union about, and hopefully we can resolve the situation,” Arran added. Exxaro is offering an 8% pay rise while the NUM is demanding 14%.

In the other dispute, the NUM is demanding a 10% rise in a one-year deal, while the Rio-Tinto-BHP Billiton joint venture Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) is offering 8% in a three-year deal.

In a new wage dispute with Northam Platinum, the NUM said it had rejected the company’s 8% wage increase on a two year deal and was demanding a 15% pay rise.

“If members agree on the strike action, then the union will serve a 48-hour notice to strike,” said NUM chief negotiator at Northam Ecliff Tantsi. Tantsi said a conciliator had awarded the union a certificate allowing it to strike at Northam.