NUM prepares for strikes at diamond, coal mines

Christel Deskins

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has warned it will embark on strikes at diamond miners De Beers and Petra Diamonds’ operations in South Africa, and at diversified miner Exxaro Resources’ coal operations. This followed after the parties were unable to reach a wage settlement agreement at the Council for […]

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has warned it will embark on strikes at diamond miners De Beers and Petra Diamonds’ operations in South Africa, and at diversified miner Exxaro Resources’ coal operations.

This followed after the parties were unable to reach a wage settlement agreement at the Council for Conciliation, Arbitration and Mediation (CCMA).

The CCMA has awarded the NUM certificates of non-resolution of the disputes allowing it to embark on a protected strike.

In terms of De Beers, the NUM says negotiations had collapsed because the miner was offering a R750 wage increase, which is equivalent to 1.5%, while the union demanded an increase of 8% across the board.

Additionally, the union was asking De Beers to pay R30 000 in employee stock ownership by December for the three years from 2018 to 2020.

The union believes De Beers is in a position to pay the wage increases and other benefits that NUM members are demanding, since the company recently recorded a 176% year-on-year increase in rough diamond sales.

At Exxaro Coal, NUM demands a minimum wage increase of 7.5% across the board, but the miner is only offering a 5% wage increase.

Further, the NUM requested Petra to increase wages by R1 000, while the company only offered a 4% wage increase. The union also wanted job alignment in all of Petra’s operations in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the union demands that Seriti increase wages by 8.5% across the board, but the company is only offering a 4% wage increase. NUM declared a wage dispute against Seriti and is waiting on the CCMA to provide a date to start a conciliation process.

“It is going to be a big fight. Food prices, fuel prices and general inflation have skyrocketed. There is just no room for peanuts increases and, for that, we are prepared for war,” says NUM chief negotiator and deputy general secretary William Mabapa.

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