South Africa 5.9.2013 06:00 am

Strikes bite as only six of 23 mines are operational

Members of NUM march to the Gold Fields offices in Carltonville during a wage strike. Picture: Refilwe Modise.

Members of NUM march to the Gold Fields offices in Carltonville during a wage strike. Picture: Refilwe Modise.

The first day of the indefinite strike in the mining gold sector called by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), had a significant impact on most gold companies.

This was confirmed by Charmane Russell, who speaks on behalf of gold companies, though some operations had reached agreements with the strikers. According to an update on www.goldwagenegotiations.co.za, only six out of the 23 listed mines were operational.

Village Main’s Tau Lekoa Mine, Sibanye’s Driefontein Mine, Pan African Resource’s Evander Mine, West Wits’ Mponeng, Savuka and Tautona mines reported normal shifts. Mineworkers downed tools on Tuesday night, demanding monthly salaries of R7 000 for surface workers and R8 000 for underground workers.

Employers are offering wage increases of 6.5% for category four and five employees, including rock drill operators. They are also offering 6% rises to category six to eight, as well as to miners, artisans and officials.

Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, Russell said while there were pockets of work which continued at some of the mines, sites where the NUM holds the majority of members didn’t report for duty.

She also confirmed that the Pan African Resources and Vaal Reef Main Reef reached a settlement agreement with the NUM and the United Association of South Africa (Uasa) in respect of the Evander and Tau Lekoa mines. “This is a positive development that indicates that a constructive outcome can be reached,” Russell said.

National spokesman for the NUM, Lesiba Seshoka said unions were meeting with employers at the chamber late yesterday. When asked if the meeting’s intention was to bring to an end the strike which enters it’s second day today he replied: “The intention of the meeting is to bring the strike to an end, but they (employers) have not presented an improved offer.”

 

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