Johannesburg - Two South African labour unions said their members may strike after wage talks with gold producers remained stalled.
Members of the National Union of Mineworkers will vote on a strike after a certificate of non-resolution was issued, Lesiba Seshoka, a spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview.
The UASA’s members also may vote to strike, after a revised pay offer was inadequate, Franz Stehring, head of mining at that union, said yesterday by phone.
The certificate, issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, entitles unions to declare a work stoppage while protecting miners from dismissal.
Negotiations over wages stalled on July 24 after the unions rejected a 5 percent pay increase and a housing-related allowance.
The dispute with the Chamber of Mines, which represents companies including AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-largest producer, Gold Fields Ltd., Harmony Gold Mining Co. and Sibanye Gold Ltd., moved to mediation at the CCMA.
The chamber increased its offer in some worker categories to 6 percent, Charmane Russell, an external spokeswoman for the chamber at Russell & Associates, said yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions.
“We are very, very far apart; we are in severe financial difficulties as a gold mining industry,” Elize Strydom, chief negotiator for the chamber, said in an interview today on Johannesburg-based SAFM radio station.
“We have to be prudent and do what’s right for the sustainability of the gold mining industry.”
Strikes could cost the gold industry 349 million rand ($34 million) a day in lost revenue, according to the chamber.
Solidarity and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union will continue with negotiations on August 26, Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis said in a text message.
AMCU Treasurer Jimmy Gama, who also acts a spokesman for the organisation, didn’t answer a phone call seeking comment.
The NUM has asked for a 60 percent increase in wages for entry-level jobs.
It represents 64 percent of gold-mining employees at the seven companies negotiating through the chamber.
A strike could occur as early as August 28 after the NUM consults members during the weekend and then potentially issues a 48-hour notice to companies, Seshoka said today.
The chamber declared a dispute July 29 with the AMCU, which represents about 17 percent of the workers, in an attempt to consolidate the talks at the CCMA. - Bloomberg News