A brief look: Mineworkers strike very possible

By Sipho Hlongwane 22 August 2011

Talks between the National Union of Mineworkers and platinum companies have failed. Barring something of a miracle, we could very well see the tens of thousands of NUM members who are in the platinum mining industry on strike. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.

Talks between NUM and Impala Platinum have failed, according to Reuters, and we could be looking at strikes in the platinum industry very soon. Reuters said. “Implats had raised its offer to between 8 and 10 percent, while the union has been asking for 14 percent, nearly triple the inflation rate. NUM workers in the gold and coal sectors have already reached deals for 7 to 10 percent increases, which could serve as benchmarks in the platinum talks.”

The union has referred the dispute to arbitration. Sapa reported that talks between NUM and Anglo Platinum had also failed near the end of last week. “The parties remain worlds apart with the NUM demanding a 15 percent wage increment and the employer offering seven percent for lower categories and six percent for higher categories,” NUM said in a statement.

NUM  also rejected a wage offer at Eskom.

The union would have to reach the point where talks have completely failed before taking to the streets. As long as the union is still talking to the various employers, the threat of a strike will be just that – a threat.

This comes in the wake of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) strike across the country. Last week, marching Samwu members went on the rampage and destroyed property in Cape Town and Durban. DM

Read more:

  • S. Africa mine union rejects revised Implats offer in Reuters;
  • NUM, Angloplat in wage talks in IOL News.