lonmin, num set for more pay talks

TOMORROW marks the second round of wage negotiations between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and platinum producer Lonmin.

The union is demanding a 25percent wage hike, while the company has offered "a mere pittance" of five percent according to the NUM.

Eric Gcilitshana, NUM's chief negotiator, said the union was not planning any strike action at this stage but urged the company to respect the negotiations.

"We are capable of fighting and going on strike. They know it. We do not want to do that. We believe that negotiation is the most powerful weapon of all," he said.

At last week's negotiations Lonmin argued that the union should "dramatically" reduce its wage demand, but NUM criticised Lonmin for failing to increase its offer.

"We want to resolve everything through negotiations. We are positive about negotiations and so we call on the company to show positivity in its actions," he said.

Gcilitshana said the union wanted to conclude a wage agreement without further delays. He said he wondered how this would happen if the company's offer was "still miles away" from the union's 25percent demand.

Mahomed Seedat, chief operations officer at Lonmin, said the company was prepared for further negotiations in an attempt to reach an agreement.

"This year will be a round of tough negotiations, especially under the current economic conditions," Seedat said.

Investment Solutions economist Chris Hart said the demand was way above the inflation rate.

He said strike action could not be ruled out though he envisaged that an agreement was likely to be reached at about 11percent.