Miners’ medical aid demands ‘a matter of life and death’

NUM wants mine owners to pay for workers' medical aid.
NUM wants mine owners to pay for workers' medical aid.
Image: 123RF/ fesenko

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is gearing up for negotiations with gold mining companies in Boksburg on Wednesday.

The union will bring a list of more than a dozen demands to the discussion.

NUM general secretary David Sipunzi said the union would be going to the negotiating table in good faith and ready to make compromises where necessary.

However‚ the union is not ready to bend on their demand that the employer contribute 70% of workers' medical aid. They want workers to foot only 30% of medical aid deductions themselves.

"Mine owners are doing away with mine hospitals and going the route of medical aids‚ therefore they must pay for it‚" said Sipunzi.

"We are going to these negotiations with the understanding that it is ‘give and take’. However‚ the medical aid benefits issue is a matter of life and death that we are not going to compromise on."

Sipunzi said the current medical aid arrangement was a 50-50 situation but they believe the employer should carry most of the bill.

Other demands by NUM include:

• Annual leave to be a minimum of 35 days (currently workers qualify for 21 days of paid annual leave)

• Maternity leave to be six months fully paid by employer (currently paid maternity leave is three months)

• A R9 500 entry-level ‘on surface’ wage

• A R10 500 underground wage

• A housing allowance of R5 000

• A living out allowance of R3 000

• A monthly transport allowance of R450

• A daily meal allowance of R120

The upcoming gold sector negotiations will be facilitated by the Minerals Council of SA and are set to start at 10am on Wednesday.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.