Northam, NUM seek end to strike

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LonminMine Independent Newspapers. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya.

Johannesburg - Northam Platinum has sought a meeting with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) under the auspices of the CCMA to try to end the strike at the Zondereinde platinum mine in Limpopo, the company said on Monday.

The NUM's latest demands tabled at a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) meeting on December 7 amounted to an average increase of 16 percent in wages, and a 69 percent increase in the living-out allowance, Northam said in a statement.

Such an increase remained unaffordable for the company, and was not in line with the settlements reached in the gold sector and at a number of other platinum producers.

NUM chief negotiator Ecliff Tantsi said he was not sure how the company had calculated the union's demands.

“I'm not sure how they calculated our demands. Our demands had been received before we left for Christmas,” he said.

“You will recall that we demanded (an increase of) R1900 for non-core workers and R1800 for core workers.”

As a compromise, the union said the R1900 and R1800 wage increases could be implemented over a two-year period.

“That is what we presented to them,” said Tantsi.

“They presented a revised offer, which we rejected, of a three-year deal based on our demands. If we can resolve that, then I think we can reach a solution.”

Northam said the company had lost R500 million in revenue and employees had lost around R100 million in wages since the strike began at the mine on November 3 last year.

“Shareholders will be kept informed of progress.”

Tantsi said when the parties last met, the union stated they would be ready to meet again in the new year, under the auspices of the CCMA.

“I think what they are saying is inconsistent with what we agreed when we met,” said Tantsi.

“We would need to agree to a date.”

It was in the interests of all parties to find a settlement, he said. - Sapa



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