South African mining strikes: unions look at offer

Paul Boughton

The Chamber of Mines of South Africa today met with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA to receive the unions’feedback on the proposals made on 9 October 2012 aimed at bringing to an end the industrial action underway in the gold sector. 

The offers made by the chamber, speaking on behalf of AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony. Yesterday an estimnated 24,000 AngloGold Ashanti workers were still out on strike at all of its six South African mines.

The offer included:

* Doing away with Category 3 so that entry level in the gold mining industry becomes Category 4 with a consequential adjustment to the entry level rate.

* An allowance for rock drill operators.

* A new category for locomotive, loader, winch and water jet operators, including an improvement in remuneration.

* Some adjustments in pay for other employees so as to preserve the integrity of the current job grading framework.

The unions have indicated that there have been mixed reactions by their members to the chamber’s proposals. 

It was agreed that more time is needed to communicate the contents of the proposals to employees.  Hence the parties are strengthening their communications processes and communication with the employees on the Chamber’s proposals will continue throughout the weekend.

The parties will reconvene on Monday, 15th October 2012.

Dr Elize Strydom, Senior Executive:  Employment Relations, says that “while the delay in returning the gold mining industry to normality is of concern, the companies are committed to continuing with dialogue in order to stabilise the sector and to resume production as soon as possible.”

This, said Dr Strydom, “is in the best interests of all the parties involved in the current impasse, and certainly for the future growth and development in South Africa, given the critical role that gold mining plays in our country’s economic development.”

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