The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and Uasa are expected to respond to a final offer tabled by employers in the coal sector at a meeting later today.
Coal producers in the Chamber of Mines had made individual two-year wage increase offers ranging from 11 percent for entry-level employees to 8 percent for skilled employees, including miners and artisans, Solidarity said.
Xstrata Coal, a subsidiary of a global commodities trader Glencore Xstrata, tabled the highest offer of an 11 percent increase for entry-level staff and 8 percent for skilled workers, including artisans and miners.
The lowest were from junior producers Msobo Coal and Kangra Coal, which offered increases of 8 percent for entry-level workers and 7.5 for skilled workers. Anglo American Thermal Coal and Exxaro Mpumalanga had offered a 9.5 percent increase for entry-level workers and 8.5 percent increase for skilled employees.
As part of the offers, the living out or housing allowances would be increased by between 7.5 percent and 9 percent. These allowances for entry-level employees and skilled workers ranged between R2 680 and R4 800.
Coal producers negotiate through the Chamber of Mines, but have made individual wage offers that vary according to their size.
Union bosses said on Friday that they had to consult with their members to obtain a mandate before commenting.
But Solidarity was expecting its members to warm to the wage offer, Gideon Du Plessis the secretary general of the union, said on Friday. “We believe we are so close to each other that it is unlikely our members will reject the offer.”
Solidarity, NUM and Uasa signed an agreement with coal mines to ensure that members prevented a spillover of labour unrest in return for a R2 000 once-off “goodwill payment” in November last year.
Du Plessis said Solidarity members were likely “to return the compliment”.
NUM general secretary Frans Baleni said the union would consult with members up until today. “I can give you our position once I have a mandate from our members.”
Zingaphi Jakuja, a spokesman at the chamber, confirmed on Friday that coal producers had tabled improved offers on wages and housing or living out allowances.
“At this stage we are not in a position to divulge the nature of the revised offers as we want to afford the unions an opportunity to consult with their members,” Jakuja said.
Negotiations reached a stalemate last month and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration was called in to mediate.
Since the talks started in July, the unions’ demands have dropped to average increases of 10 percent from 18 percent.
The chamber originally offered skilled employees a 6.5 percent wage increase and a 7 percent housing allowance
Companies are expected to settle outstanding concerns around medical aid contributions and housing allowances before a settlement is reached.
Unions wanted medical aid contributions to be split 60:40 between companies and employees, Franz Sterhing, a divisional manager for the mineral division at Uasa, said.