Business / Business News

Sungula Nkabinde
2 minute read
13 Oct 2015
12:10 pm

Coal sector wage talks still unresolved

Sungula Nkabinde

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu told Moneyweb late on Monday afternoon that there won’t be any agreement signed between the union and the Chamber of Mines (COM), at least until tomorrow morning.

AFP/File

“Our members gave us a mandate that we must come back to them before we move forward, even if we do manage to come to an agreement (in principle) with the chamber,” said Mammburu who, after a long caucus meeting, was entering into deliberations with the chamber.

As the majority union, representing 72% of employees represented in the coal wage negotiations, the NUM must agree to the latest offer from the mining companies – Anglo American Coal, Delmas, Exxaro, Kangra, Koornfontein, Msobo and Glencore – represented by the COM, if the coal sector strike is to come to an end.

It would also make the new offer applicable to all 17 000 coal employees represented in the talks, irrespective of whether they belong to the NUM or not. UASA and Solidarity have already accepted an offer tabled last month, but COM spokesperson Memory Johnstone says that deal is subject to change depending on how negotiations with the NUM pan out.

“Whatever agreement is eventually made will have apply to the whole sector. That is the whole point of centralised collective bargaining,” she says.

NUM workers’ demands have been asking for an increase in wages of R1 000 for the lowest paid coal sector workers, and 14% for miners, artisans and officials. And, while producers have said this was simply not affordable, they made some concessions and on Friday tabled a revised offer.

The two-year deal, effective from July 1, would see the lowest earning employees receive increases, “staggered over a period of time”, of between R750 and R1 000 per month in year one and guaranteed increases of 7.5% in year two.

Meanwhile miners, official and artisans would receive increases of between 5% and 7.5% in both years.

Increases to the living out allowance and housing allowance would vary from company-to-company.

Johnstone said there was currently no update as to whether the NUM had accepted the latest offer.

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