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Chamber of Mines: Talks with coal unions collapse, strike looms

The chamber says deliberations with unions about the withdrawal of 7 coal firms from the central wages negotiations chamber have collapsed.

Picture: Twitter/@Mine_RSA.

JOHANNESBURG - The Chamber of Mines says deliberations with unions about the withdrawal of seven coal companies from the central wages negotiations chamber have collapsed and a strike could be on the cards.

Some players in the coal sector say they want the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) solidarity and United Association of South Africa (UASA) to discuss wages and salaries on a company-by-company basis and not collectively.

On Tuesday, talks between unions and the chamber deadlocked with labour organisations expected to take the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and get a certificate expressing their intention to strike.

Spokesperson Motsamai Motlamme says, “The coal companies that are part of the chamber central wage negotiations indicated that they would want to hold these wage negotiations at company level rather than at a chamber from 2017 onwards.”

But the NUM says the chamber is negotiating in bad faith because in January the companies agreed to stay in the collective bargaining council.

Spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu says this move will make it difficult to implement mandates given to them by their members.

“We’ve been negotiating for years within the centralised bargaining forum and now all of a sudden their members in the coal sector do not want to do so anymore. That’s the reason why the NUM declared a dispute.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)