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Gold mining sector still negotiating

Solidarity says it is highly unlikely that unions and the Chamber of Mines will settle on an offer soon.

A miner. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Mining unions are expected to receive feedback from their members next week Tuesday on whether they will accept the Chamber of Mines's new wage offer in the gold sector.

On Tuesday, the chamber made a revised wage offer of 5.5 percent in order to avoid a strike.

Various unions have different demands ranging from a 10 percent increase to 100 percent.

Solidarity's Gideon du Plessis who is part of the negotiations says it is highly unlikely the various unions and the chamber will settle on an offer soon.

"To avoid a strike they need to dig deep in their pockets to increase the offer, but from the union's side we will have a more realistic approach regarding the demands we have. But there's still an opportunity for us to avoid a strike."

Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said in July it was planning a mass protest in Johannesburg this month for all of its members demanding higher wages.

The NUM's Frans Baleni said at the time the union wanted a double digit increase in line with those presented to the Chamber of Mines.

"This is a build-up which will culminate in a central march in Johannesburg on behalf of all construction workers from civil organisations, mining companies as well as Eskom."

In July, the NUM rejected a wage hike offer of four percent from gold mining companies "with the contempt it deserves".

The Chamber of Mines made the offer in response to the NUM's demand of at least R7,500 for entry-level surface workers.

The offer fell far short of the NUM's 60 percent increase demand and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu)'s demand of 100 percent.