/ 11 September 2014

NUM: Platinum workers dissatisfied with wage agreement

NUM general secretary Frans Baleni.
NUM general secretary Frans Baleni.

Platinum workers are dissatisfied with the wage agreement that ended the five-month strike within the sector, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday.

“What is the effect of the platinum settlement? What we have observed is that in the sector, the three mines [Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum, and Lonmin], there is dissatisfaction,” NUM general secretary Frans Baleni said. “You might have seen a decline of membership of the majority union [the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union] in all three mines.” 

Baleni was speaking to reporters following a meeting of the union’s national office bearers in Johannesburg. “People are saying, ‘We are not happy about this’. It meant having lost so many days of income and you actually lost in terms of other benefits where they’d been frozen with no increase,” he said. 

“The people who suffered dearly in that deal are your artisans and officials. Literally some things were taken from them in order to satisfy a particular level. So there is unhappiness. 

“Obviously, people in leadership will promote it [the settlement].” He said NUM’s approach for upcoming gold industry wage negotiations next year would be to consult their members thoroughly, and early, so NUM could arrive at the negotiating table with a clear mandate. 

“We are looking at various forms analysing what they have, how we can achieve them, what should be the process, and also raising with members What if the following issue comes up?’,” he said. 

Amcu members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500. The strike ended on June 24 when they accepted a three-year wage deal that will increase salaries by R1000 in the first and second year of the agreement, and R950 in the third year. – Sapa