/ 28 August 2013

NUM rejects Chamber of Mines’s final offer

Business reporter Lisa Steyn explains the high salaries of mine bosses and how it impacts on wage negotiations.
Business reporter Lisa Steyn explains the high salaries of mine bosses and how it impacts on wage negotiations.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has rejected the final pay offer made by the Chamber of Mines on Tuesday, the union said.

"We have made it clear that we reject that offer with contempt. It is a joke. They are being ridiculous," said NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka.

"How can you offer people who earn so little [such a] little amount of money? Six percent for someone who is earning R5 000 a month is R300. It's nonsense."

Gold mining companies, represented by the Chamber of Mines, have offered a basic increase of 6.5% for category four and five employees, including rock drill operators.

"An offer of 6% on basic wage has been made to category six to eight, as well as to miners and artisans, and officials," the chamber said in a statement.

In addition, accommodation allowances would be increased in accordance with the consumer price index.

The gold mining companies were AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Rand Uranium, Harmony Gold, Evander Gold, Sibanye Gold and Village Main Reef.

Certificates of non-resolution
Earlier, Solidarity said it had asked the chamber for more time to consult its members about the new wage offer.

The chamber originally gave Solidarity until Thursday to give feedback on the offer, said the union's general secretary Gideon du Plessis.

"This will also give the trade union the opportunity to receive submissions from the various mining houses on their respective profit sharing schemes and to finalise outstanding demands," he said.

The parties would reconvene on Thursday morning about Solidarity's request.

The offer was made to the unions engaged in negotiations under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

These were the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and Solidarity, the chamber said in a statement.

Also included were unions in possession of certificates of non-resolution, these being the NUM and United Association of South Africa.

'Remuneration of R9 170'
The employers had also offered all employees in the bargaining unit the opportunity to earn an additional 1% on basic wages by way of a "gain share" proposal.

"Harmony Gold is proposing a continuation of the 1% profit share agreement, and Rand Uranium has offered a 0.5% gain share," the chamber said.

"It is proposed that each of the companies will develop a gain share proposal in line with the company's objectives and maturity, which may be gold price, profit, revenue, gold produced or cost related."

The offer made was for a two-year period, with the same increase offered for the second year.

Elize Strydom, chief negotiator for the gold producers, said, "At an entry level, this increase translates into guaranteed remuneration of R9 170 per month."

The NUM was preparing to go on strike in the gold mining sector after wage negotiations deadlocked last week.

It was demanding R7 000 a month for surface workers and R8 000 a month for underground workers.

Solidarity said earlier on Tuesday that it could settle for an 8.3% wage increase. – Sapa