Mineworkers union declares wage dispute with SA gold companies


JOHANNESBURG, August 19 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) declared a wage dispute with the Minerals Council of South Africa on Tuesday.

The dispute comes as wage negotiations in the gold sector resumed on Tuesday when the Minerals Council, which represents about 90 percent of mining houses, made a final salary increase offer to four workers unions.

Last week, the council was focusing on category 4 to 8 underground employees, while the tradesmen and other senior miners had received an offer of below the inflation rate, ranging from 3.5 percent at Sibanye-Stillwater, 4 percent at Village Main Reef, to 4.5 percent at Harmony and AngloGold Ashanti.
David Sipunzi, NUM general secretary and chief negotiator, said that the gold producers had insulted mineworkers by tabling offers ranging from R675 for category 4 to 8 surface and underground workers, and five percent for artisans, miners, and officials.

Sipunzi said the NUM was extremely disappointed and angered that Sibanye Stillwater was the one that was offering the lowest in terms of wages, offering increases ranging from R500 for surface and underground workers, and four percent for artisans, miners, and officials.

“It is a sad day in South Africa. Gold producers have not shown any seriousness. It is time now that we stop keeping our members in suspense. We have reached a deadlock. It is the end of the road. We have declared a dispute and the dispute will be referred to the CCMA tomorrow,” Sipunzi said.

The NUM demands R9,450 for surface workers, R10,450 for underground workers and 14.5 percent for miners artisans and officials.

Sipunzi said that the dispute would now be referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for facilitation and was one step away from a legal, protected strike action even though the union’s intention was to find an amicable solution.

– African News Agency (ANA)