NUM to meet Impala Platinum over wages

South Africa’s National Union of Mine Workers (NUM) will meet management at Impala Platinum on Friday for further wage talks as its members vote on a possible strike, a union official said.

The NUM is demanding a 10% pay rise across the board and R1 700 in housing allowance. Impala, the world’s second-largest platinum producer, has offered 7,5% pay rise for workers in the high income bracket and 8% for those in the lower category.

“Impala asked for a quick meeting. We expect them to improve the offer … now you can see that the heat is on,” NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka told Reuters. “Our members are busy being balloted for a [strike] action.”

A conciliator met Impala management and the NUM on Monday in a bid to avert the strike, which could harm output, but the talks collapsed after the company declined to raise its offer.

The workers started voting on a strike on Thursday but the union has yet to get a majority vote.

“The votes for the bigger Impala branches have not yet trickled in and those are the deciding branches. The smaller branches have already indicated that they want a strike action,” Seshoka said.

Africa’s biggest economy has been hit by a wave of strikes and strike threats in both the private and public sector this year that have led to above-inflation settlements, raising fears that the cost of living will rise.

South Africa’s inflation rate slowed to 4,2% in June. – Reuters

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