Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has served the Zondereinde platinum mine in Limpopo with a notice to strike, Northam Platinum said on Thursday.
The NUM rejected the company's wage offer during two-day wage negotiations facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) earlier this week, it said in a statement.
“The facilitation process followed on from the parties' failure to reach agreement on wage increases and other issues for the 2014
financial year at the talks held on Friday 25 October 2013 under the auspices of the CCMA,” the mine said.
“The company tabled an improved offer, with increases ranging from seven percent and eight percent for the first year, and between seven percent and 7.5 percent for year two, or CPI (consumer price index) plus one percent, whichever is the higher.”
It said the previous offers tabled ranged from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent and 6.5 percent to seven percent, or CPI plus one percent.
The NUM's demands included not having a multi-year wage deal and a distinction between core (production employees) and non-core employees.
“The demand for non-core employees is an increase of R2000 on basic wages - equivalent to 22 percent to 42 percent at the lowest levels,” Northam said.
“The demand for core employees is an increase of R2100 on basic wages - equivalent to 23 percent to 43 percent at the lowest level. The living out allowance is to be increased by 69 percent from R2200 to R3718.”
Northam said if combined the NUM demands were equal to an average increase of 61 percent, while its revised offer would add about R117.3 million to the current annual R1.3 billion wage bill.
If an agreement was not reached by Saturday, the strike was expected to begin with effect from the night shift on Sunday.
General manager Danny Gonsalves said management would continue to engage with the union in a constructive manner to achieve an outcome acceptable to both parties and to ensure the stability of the operation and jobs. - Sapa