Gold Sector Wage Talks Stall
Source: SAPA (7/19/11)
"Chamber of Mines is 'not budging' from last week's offer."
Wage talks in the gold sector will resume next week as no resolution could be reached, the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) said on Tuesday.
"Nothing came out of talks yesterday (Monday)," said spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka. "They are not budging on what they offered us last week."
Talks are to continue with the Chamber of Mines (COM) on July 25, under a facilitator from the Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Chamber negotiator Elize Strydom was not immediately available for comment.
In a statement, Solidarity said talks were going at a "snail's pace", and the offer was disappointing.
The Num, the United Association of SA (Uasa) and Solidarity represent about 140 000 employees working for COM member companies.
Last week, the unions rejected a revised wage offer and declared a dispute.
AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields upped their offer to a 5.5% wage increase for the lowest-paid employees and 5% for the rest. Harmony and Rand Uranium offered 5.3% for the lowest-paid employees and 4.8% for the others.
The Num and Uasa wanted a wage hike of 14%, while Solidarity wanted 12%.
Solidarity submitted a lower figure in the light of the production environment and the 4.6% consumer price inflation.
It felt its figure, although still above inflation, would help retain skilled employees.
The chamber recently said production in the gold mining industry had consistently declined and it faced pressure from high electricity, water and fuel costs.
Seshoka said the union had already mobilized its members for a possible strike as it believed the chamber was dragging its feet on salary negotiations.