Johannesburg - The NUM has rejected Gold Fields' proposed changes to the bonuses and working hours of workers at South Deep mine, it said on Thursday.
The changes would lead to less pay for workers, the National Union of Mineworkers said.
“We are ready to go to battle. We are not going to take this lying down. This is a call to war,” said NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.
Gold Fields began its consultation process with the NUM and other affected employees at South Deep, in Westonaria, about six months ago.
The company proposed remuneration and benefit packages linked to the adoption of the new operating model.
It said the changes would not only secure current jobs, but would allow the mine to create an additional 400 full-time jobs at South Deep.
Workers would work 2.5 hours longer a shift and would get 43 more days off a year. The bonus system would be changed from a guaranteed bonus to incentive pay linked to production targets.
The grading of workers would also be realigned to industry standards and some workers would go to lower grades. However, Sven Lunsche, head of corporate affairs at Gold Fields, said there would be no reduction of pay to workers who would be moved to lower grades.
“We will fix their salaries and the workers will go for training in order for them to go back to their higher position 1/8s 3/8,” he said.
Seshoka, though, said the changes in work hours would result in less pay for workers.
An agreement was reached with 250 United Association of SA (Uasa) members and 80 unaffiliated workers.
Approximately 2384 underground workers would be affected by the Section 189 notice.
“The vast majority of the workers will have more days off, better pay and there will be more productivity for the company,” said Lunsche.
Gold Fields said South Deep was an important and strategic growth asset, with enough gold reserves to run beyond 2070.
“We will never dance to their music if we are still the ones who make money for them,” said Seshoka. - Sapa