NUM takes fight to mine bosses

The union says mine bosses are making millions while workers are suffering.

FILE: The National Union of Mineworkers' General Secretary Frans Baleni, at a news conference in Johannesburg. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it is unacceptable for gold companies to claim they can't afford to pay workers a basic wage of at least R8,000 when executives are still being paid millions.

The NUM has rejected the latest offer of around six percent put forward by the sector and will most likely serve companies with a strike notice next week.

The Chamber of Mines said their offer was based on dire economic restraints faced by the miners, but the NUM's Frans Baleni says only low level workers are feeling the pinch.

"They are talking about economic challenges mines are subjected to, but Nick Holland can walk away with R15 million in 2012. Surely, if there is poverty, there must be equal poverty across the board to the executive level."

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 NUM members at Village Main Reef's Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mine in Carletonville marched to the company's headquarters this week to demand that the looming retrenchment of 1,800 employees be cancelled.

The mine has been placed under judicial management and is in the process of being liquidated.

"Village Main Reef is closing down and liquidating the mine and going away. It's doing the same at Limpopo's Consolidated Murchison Mine. Clearly there's no downscaling. It's just a matter of shutting down the operations," said the NUM's spokesperson Lesiba Sheshoka.

In 2011, Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mine dismissed 1,000 NUM members.

The union believes the rest of its membership will soon follow.

The NUM has also threatened mass strike action at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mines after it announced earlier this week that it planned to cut more jobs than it had initially agreed to.