/ 4 July 2011

NUM, mines gird themselves for wage wars

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) hopes to secure a 14% pay increase when it meets gold mining industry representatives in further salary talks on Tuesday, its general secretary Frans Baleni said on Monday.

Gold producers negotiating through the Chamber of Mines have offered an increase of 4%.

“We hope that this time around the gold producers will move significantly to 14%,” Baleni said.

“There should absolutely be no waste of time. We do not have all the time in the world and we cannot waste time dancing on one spot.”

A chamber spokesperson was not immediately available to comment, but in an earlier statement it said production in the gold mining industry had declined consistently and it faced pressure from the high costs of electricity, water and fuel.

It hoped the parties would strike a balance.

Negotiations on salary increases in the coal sector take place on Thursday.

Coal companies have offered a 4.5% wage increase for the lowest category of employee, and 4.2% for all other employees.

Companies represented in the Chamber of Mines negotiations include AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold and Goldfields.

The engineering sector of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa began protests on Monday in pursuit of a 13% salary increase.

It has been offered 7%.

NUM represents the largest number of employers in the mining industry. — Sapa