Last minute agreement stops strike

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

The planned National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strike against De Beers which was set to start yesterday did not take place due to the "last minute" 12percent wage agreement yesterday.

The agreement was not in line with the initial determination by the union that they would embark on industrial action until they got what they wanted - 13,5percent.

Peter Bailey, NUM Negotiator, said: "The 12percent came as an attempt to get a neutral agreement. We accept it in the interest of progress."

Commenting on their shift from 11percent to 12percent, Wayne Smerdon, De Beers' chief negotiator said: "We had to take note of the current economic situation where the price of basic needs such as food and fuel has gone up.

"In future De Beers will look into securing a multi-year agreement. At this stage we see this as an amicable solution to the process," Smerdon said.

The union also expressed its dissatisfaction with "late negotiating tactics" by De Beers. "De Beers should learn to agree on time. If they apply these late negotiation tactics next year, we will strike even when they have agreed," NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said.

Business Unity's Vic van Vuuren said: "The 12 percent rate is reasonable as wage trends tend to follow the inflation rate."