Miners demand 13,5% raise

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

The latest Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) talks between Diamond giant De Beers and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have stalled.

NUM is demanding a 13,5percent wage increase whereas De Beers is only willing to raise its offer from 10,5percent to 11percent for 2008. The 11percent offer means that the new minimum basic salary at the top entry level (B-band) will be R8434, and at the first entry level employee (A-band) will be R4421.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said: "If De Beers is not prepared to give us what we want, we are going to strike at all their operations countrywide on Thursday (tomorrow) until we get what we want, even if the strike action lasts for three months."

Asked what De Beers is prepared to do to prevent the strike action, Tom Tweedy, of the media relations department, said: "All we can do is to remain available for negotiations; if the strike action takes place we will do our best to manage the situation.

"In the mining industry, our salaries are definitely above board. The difference between our salaries and that in other mining sectors ranges between R400 to more than R1400 a month".

In response to DeBeers claim that their salaries were above board, Seshoka said: "In our knowledge, the maximum salary scale for underground workers, working for members of the Chamber of Mines, is R4000 and the minimum differs from company to company.

"However, De Beers in Cullinan are the lowest paid workers with a monthly salary of R2000."