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Expect no mercy - NUM

By unknown | Apr 20, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will today hand over its new set of wage demands to the Chamber of Mines as the current two-year wage agreement expires in May.

In the last agreement, workers in the coal and gold sectors received 10percent and 8,5percent increases respectively.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the union was aiming for nothing below the current inflation rate or inflation plus one percent.

"We learnt through the media that the chamber is blaming the production slowdown," he said.

"They must be careful because the gold price is doing well so there is no reason for any other company within the chamber to come up with stories.

"We are open for negotiation but if they push us we will consider industrial action to force them."

He said employers must not expect mercy from the union because the cost of living had also gone up in recent years.

Seshoka said the coal sector would also have to substantially increase wages considering Eskom's high coal demand and infrastructure development projects.

Andrew Levy of Andrew Levy & Associates, said the union might be aiming for a double digit increase, based on its past successes.

He said" "However, it is important to note that some mine workers are on contract, and if the union pushes negotiations too far then the process might result in job losses."

He said if the gold price remained strong, employers would want to go for 10percent.

Levy says the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union's recent 11percent victory for truck drivers also shows that the unions can secure "huge" increases even under the current economic climate.

"Possibilities of a strike action are high if employers would only consider increases below 10 percent," Levy said.

l In a separate incident on Friday, there was a blockage of the entrances to the Eskom head office, Megawatt Park, in Sunninghill, by coal truck operators before handing a memorandum of demands to the power utility's chief executive.

Receiving the memorandum, Eskom chief executive Jacob Maroga noted that coal transportation was an important part of the electricity value chain.

In the memorandum, truck owners complain about, among other things, the clause that they may not use their trucks to do any ad hoc jobs during the idle time when they are not used by Eskom.


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