It is becoming abundantly clear that the wage negotiations in the gold industry are going to be the toughest ever, according to trade union Solidarity.

The Chamber of Mines’ opening wage offer of 4 percent is a far cry from the 100 percent increase demanded by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the 60 percent sought by the National Union of Mineworkers for underground workers.

Solidarity’s is asking for a relatively modest 10 percent increment.

Gideon du Plessis, the general secretary of Solidarity, said the fact that no agreement was reached on the “house rules” after seven meetings was an indication that this year’s negotiations with the chamber would be exceptionally challenging.

Du Plessis added that new labour union Amcu had proposed drastic changes to the document on “house rules” agreed upon last week by organised labour, the mining industry and the government, under the auspices of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, making it impossible for other parties to sign it.

Du Plessis said: “This is a further indication of the tough negotiations [in the sector] ahead. It also seems that Amcu’s decision maker is not part of the negotiations, but operates under remote control from the outside.”

Du Plessis said in order to reach a settlement without a strike employers would be required to offer an increase above the budgeted figure.

He warned: “The chamber would have to raise its offer dramatically to create the atmosphere for a settlement.

“Union members will have to accept a lower-than-expected increase.

“The Chamber of Mines also reacted with caution to the labour unions’ other substantive claims.”

Technology

Mother Africa is inching closer to gaining her own distinctive voice where top-level domain names on the internet are concerned.

Never mind name-dropping, Africa has passed the initial evaluation by internet governing body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), for the dotAfrica bid to create the top-level .africa domain.

ZA Central Registry bid for dotAfrica and was informed of the application’s eligibility to proceed to the next stage of the programme last Friday.

The registry is a non-profit organisation that manages the South African domain register.

The news was confirmed as South Africa prepared to host the 47th ICANN international meeting, which is now under way in Durban, “with virtually the entire world internet community represented”, Mohammed El Bashir, dotAfrica’s steering committee chairman, said in a statement at the weekend.

Even the erstwhile AU Commission lent a hand and was a key factor in successfully transcending the initial stage.

A multi-stakeholder pan-African dotAfrica Foundation will drive the execution of the key developmental deliverables in co-operation with the commission.

The ICANN conference ends on Thursday and more than 1 800 delegates are in attendance. The .ZA Domain Name Authority and the ZA Central Registry are hosting the event this year.

El Bashir said that the domain name extension was an important online branding platform to promote business and tourism on the continent and would assist in marketing efforts.

The dotAfrica bid is supported by the different African internet stakeholders, the AU Commission and national governments, civil society and the technical community.

Authorities are meanwhile urging trademark owners to validate their trademarks with Trademark Clearinghouse, which was established by ICANN and is operated by Deloitte.

Donvay Wegierski, the director of Werksmans Attorneys, said: “We expect the .africa domain to launch in two phases – first the Sunrise phase and second the Landrush phase.

“During the Sunrise phase, trademark owners have priority to register .africa domains incorporating their trade marks for a certain period of time.”

 

Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Wiseman Khuzwayo and Asha Speckman.