/ 30 August 2007

Unions, Chamber of Mines sign coal deal

The Chamber of Mines signed an agreement on Thursday with three unions over wages in the coal-mining sector.

The chamber’s negotiator in the coal sector, Eric Nwedo, said the agreement would increase wages of higher-paid workers by between 7,5% and 8,5%. Lower-paid employees would get a 10% increase.

The two-year deal was signed by the United Association of South Africa (UASA), Solidarity and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

A R3 000 minimum monthly wage for underground workers was also agreed upon.

Other areas of agreement included an increase in the medical benefit from R7 500 to R10 000. There were also improvements in various types of leave.

”It’s a win-win solution for both parties in that it takes into account the future sustainability of the coal-mining industry. We’re also happy that we managed to avoid a strike,” Nwedo said.

The NUM welcomed the deal.

”We are excited by the offer and hope it will bring much-needed relief to our hard-working, lesser-paid members,” said general secretary Frans Baleni.

”It has been a tough round with disputes that could have led to strike action, but we are happy we did not have to go that way to resolve matters.” — Sapa