NUM to strike at Northam Platinum

Over 7000 National Union of Mineworkers members will embark on strike action at the Northam Platinum in Limpopo from Sunday night, the union said.

"The strike is going ahead," NUM chief negotiator Ecliff Tantsi said on Sunday afternoon.

He said workers would not go down for the night shift from around 8pm and the strike would continue with workers not coming for Monday's day shift that begins around 5am.

Tantsi said there had been "no new developments" since wage negotiations broke down during the week, and the strike notice was subsequently issued.

However, he said that he had phoned the mine's general manager, Danny Gonsalves, on Sunday morning.

"I indicated to him that we cannot lead by silence…In any war there will be time for parties to talk," said Tantsi.

"In the beginning of the war, to avoid casualties, it is wiser to find a solution".

Tantsi said the manager indicated he "understood me".

"I'm waiting for his call anytime."

Tantsi said the 7000 NUM members represented approximately 80% of the workers at the mine.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the mine, Marion Brower, said the company had moved twice on its offers to miners. It had also  offered facilitation.

Asked if further engagement between the employer and workers was on the cards, Brower said: "I do know that when it comes to these kinds of things, it's who blinks first."

The NUM wants – among other demands – a monthly increase of R2100 for core workers and R2000 for non-core workers.

In a statement issued earlier this week, the mine said the demand for a R2100 increase on basic wages for core employees, was the equivalent of a 23 to 43% increase at the lowest levels, while the demand for non-core workers was equivalent to a 22 to 42% increase at the lowest level.

The company said last month, during talks at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, that  it had tabled an offer of increases ranging from 7% to 8% for the next financial year.

The union also wants the living out allowance to be increased from R2200 to R3718, an increase of 69%. -–Sapa

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