Potential NUM strike on the cards

The outcome of a meeting between the NUM & the Chamber of Mines could dictate whether or not they will strike.

Anglo miners demonstrate over wages. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday said the outcome of its scheduled meeting with the Chamber of Mines on Wednesday could dictate whether or not its members in the gold sector go on strike.

The NUM has rejected the latest offer by the Chamber of Mines, which has proposed pay increases in the form of an allowance.

Workers are demanding that the increase be integrated into their salaries in order to see increases in 13th cheques, pension funds and other benefits.

The Chamber of Mines has said it's unable to add any more money to its offer but will try to repackage the deal.

NUM Deputy President Joe Montisetsi said the union hopes for a positive development.

"We cannot say we are going to strike now. We don't declare a strike as leadership, the strike comes from members who are not satisfied. Mandate from workers will guide us after a report back on the offer that will be tabled on Wednesday."

Unions at South African gold producers are divided over whether to accept a final wage offer and avert the kind of prolonged strike that affected the platinum sector last year.

Wage talks between South African bullion producers and unions started in June with the two biggest unions, which are arch rivals, setting wage increase demands ranging from 80 percent to over 100 percent for the lowest-paid workers.

AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold, Harmony Gold and two smaller producers, have offered wage increases of up to 17 percent, saying the sector is grappling with depressed prices, falling production and rising costs.