Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) tabled its list of one-year wage demands to Kumba Iron Ore for the 2017 wage negotiations on Thursday. The three-year agreement between the union and Kumba Iron Ore operations in the Northern Cape, in Kolomela and Sishen mines, comes to an end on June 30. 

The NUM wants sick-leave days to be increased from 120 to 180 per annum, allocated on the first day of each leave cycle, instead of accumulative, as well as five days paternity leave and 10 days family responsibility leave. The NUM demands that hours of work at Sishen and Kolomela mines be reduced to 40 hours a week from 45 hours and 44 hours respectively. 

The union also wants the introduction of a "dust allowance", a payment of 10 percent of the basic salary of employees exposed to dust. A R5 000 housing allowance for all employees irrespective of grades is also among the demands the union tabled, as well as the "harmonisation of grades", a demand that all artisans in Kumba grades to be aligned. 

The union also wants a new scheme to be in place effective from the current financial year, saying that it should be 15 percent loan free ownership scheme. For medial aid, the NUM wants the current calculations to be revised in that the company first contributes and the employee pays the balance, and the increased to be topped at maximum of R3 000. 

The union also wants the company to contribute 15 percent to pension fund effective July 1, 2018. Among the raft of demands, the NUM said the duration of the wage agreement should be one year, effective from July 1, this year, instead of the normal three-year cycle in the bargaining council. 

Kumba Iron Ore is expected to table its counter offer to the union's demands in two weeks time on June 7. The NUM represent the majority of employees in the Northern Cape and in Kumba and it is still the majority union. Kumba is one of the biggest iron ore producers in the country.