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NUM threatens strike action

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The National Union of Mineworkers failed to reach a wage settlement with the companies at the CCMA.

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THE NATIONAL Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will embark on strikes at De Beers, Petra Diamonds and Exxaro Coal after the union failed to reach a wage settlement with the companies at the CCMA.

William Mabapa, NUM Deputy General Secretary, said on Friday that the NUM was currently involved in a mobilisation process amongst its members, preparing them for strikes .

“The CCMA has awarded the NUM with certificates of non-resolution of the disputes.”

Mabapa said that with regard to De Beers, the wage negotiations had collapsed.

“The NUM has been awarded a certificate to embark on a protected strike and is busy finalising the picketing rules with the CCMA.

“The NUM is demanding an increment of 8% across the board while the company is offering R750 wage increase, which is equivalent to 1,5%. The NUM is demanding that the company unpack the Total Remuneration Package (TRP). The NUM is also demanding a R30 000 Esops (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) that must be paid in December for three years (2018-2020).”

Mabapa added that De Beers could afford to pay the wage increases and other benefits that the NUM members are demanding after the company recently recorded a 176% jump in rough diamond sales.

He added that the wage negotiations between the NUM and Petra Diamonds had also collapsed at the CCMA.

“The NUM has received a certificate to embark on a protected strike. The NUM is demanding a wage increase of R1000 while the company is only offering 4%. The NUM is also demanding job alignment in all Petra Diamonds operations in South Africa.”

“It is going to be a big, big fight,” says Mabapa, the NUM chief negotiator at the three companies. “Food prices, fuel prices and general inflation have sky-rocketed. There is just no room for peanut increases and for that, we are prepared for war,” he says.

De Beers confirmed on Friday that it has so far been unable to reach a mutually agreed outcome in negotiations with the NUM over salary increases for bargaining unit employees.

“We value our employees and our relationship with the NUM and we will therefore continue with our engagements in an effort to reach a sustainable agreement in the interest of all parties, considering the current external environment,” De Beers spokesperson, Innocent Mabusela, said.

Spokesperson for Petra Diamonds, Gert Klopper, confirmed that currently Petra was at an advanced stage in its negotiations with NUM with regards to finalising its wage agreement. “The company has not been issued with a notification to embark on planned industrial action,” he added.