NUM may seek 100 percent pay hikes

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) may seek pay hikes of up to 100 percent for its lowest paid members in upcoming wage talks in the gold, coal and diamond sectors, its General Secretary said on Thursday. “The minimum levels may suggest 100 percent in some instances and minimum demands will vary according to sectors like gold and diamonds,” Frans Baleni also told reporters when asked about what demands the union would be making.

This sets the stage for a showdown between labour and capital in South Africa’s restless mining shafts.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference called by NUM to draft its 2015 wage demands, Baleni said the lowest wages for its members currently were R6000 a month in gold, R7000 in coal and R9000 in the diamond sector.

Gold wage agreements expire at the end of June and the industry executives have repeatedly said they cannot afford big increases as they grapple with depressed prices, power constraints and falling grades in the world’s deepest mines.

The NUM represents 57 percent of the workforce in the gold sector, while its arch rival AMCU represents 25 percent, according to data from an industry website called Wage Negotiations For the Gold Industry 2015. – Reuters