/ 15 July 2009

NUM: 2010 wage deal better than expected

A wage agreement between employers and construction workers following a week-long strike at Soccer World Cup stadiums was better than expected, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said.

”It is a very good agreement for labour. We hope our members are going to be excited,” said NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka.

Seshoka said the union’s members had previously provided a mandate for negotiators to accept an offer from employers represented by the South African Federation of Civil Engineering (Safcec).

”What we got for them was actually better than they had given us a mandate for,” he said.

The agreement was made in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

NUM and the Building Construction and Allied Workers’ Union (BCAWU) would call the strike off after a signing session at noon, Safcec said in a statement.

”After intense negotiations between Safcec, NUM and BCAWU, under the auspices of the CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration], the parties are pleased to announce that an agreement … was concluded early this morning, July 15 2009, at the offices of the CCMA.

”The signing of the agreement, that was concluded, will take place at noon later today [Wednesday], at which time the strike will be called off officially,” the Safcec statement said.

”Both unions have assured Safcec that their members will return to work at 7am on Thursday July 16 2009.”

Details of the agreement have yet to be disclosed. Safcec’s statement did not give any details and Seshoka declined to give more information.

”We have reached an agreement, the details of which we are barred from divulging at the moment,” said Seshoka.

NUM had initially demanded a wage increase of 13% and the employer body offered 10,4%.

Safcec later increased its offer to 11,5%.

The strike, which began last Wednesday, affected major construction projects throughout South Africa, including Soccer World Cup projects and the Gautrain. – Sapa