S.A. Mine Wage Negotiations Begin


"S. Africa's National Union of Mineworkers demands a 14% basic wage increase."

The New Age

gold union

The 2011 wage negotiations in the gold and coal mining sectors have begun, with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) demanding a 14% basic wage increase, the Chamber of Mines said on Monday.

"From our initial analysis, the demand for a new minimum monthly wage constitutes an increase of 25%," Chamber of Mines industrial relations adviser Elize Strydom said in a statement.

"This, together with the demand for an increase of basic salaries of 14%, as well as a demand for approximately 45% increase in the living out allowance (which for gold currently adds another R1400 to the remuneration package), reflect a disregard for Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is currently just slightly above four%," she said.

However, NUM national spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the 25% increase mentioned by the chamber was a "creation of their imagination. . .they are acting like mathematicians."

He said the NUM's demand for a 14% increase was "reasonable."

Headline inflation might be around 4%, but workers would suffer more than others from the increases in food and fuel inflation, he said.

Strydom, who would lead the negotiations for the mining companies negotiating at the Chamber of Mines, said NUM's demands were concerning.

"We are therefore concerned, particularly as the mining companies have gone to great lengths to share with all interested parties the severe cost pressures in the industry.

"The gold mining companies have been at pains to highlight the significant disjuncture between the gold price in dollars and the financial situation of the South African gold companies at the quarterly releases of their companies' results," she said.

The NUM represents the largest number of employees in the mining industry.

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