Coal miners strike looms

Trade unions Solidarity and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) yesterday declared a wage dispute with coal mines represented in the Chamber of Mines, both unions said.

Trade unions Solidarity and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) yesterday declared a wage dispute with coal mines represented in the Chamber of Mines, both unions said.

The mines are offering 7,25percent while the unions want 15percent.

"The trade unions found this unacceptable and they asked the employers to revise their offer, but employers decided to stand by the 7,25percent offer," Solidarity spokesman Reint Dykema said.

The Chamber of Mines had revised its offer with an 0,25percent improvement to its original 7percent offer.

NUM general secretary Frans Baleni said the mines' reluctance to move forward had set them on a collision course with NUM. He said members had given them "strict instructions to accept no less than a double-digit figure".

Both unions are to lodge a complaint with the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration.

"Professional assistance will be needed to save the situation," Dykema said.

Chamber of Mines negotiator Eric Nwedo said the chamber had told the unions that their demands would cause significant losses to the mines. - Sapa

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