More SA Strikes and Wage Websites

Monday, 16 December, 2013 saw an interesting release from Northam Platinum on strikes and wage negotiations today. The release sets out the process and damage to all concerned to date:

"Six week strike at Zondereinde operation, by members of the National Union of Mineworkers, (NUM)

demands, in aggregate, remain at an increase of 16% on basic wages. In addition NUM demands an increase of 69% in the living out allowance. 

Northam therefore has informed the CCMA that its final offer of wage increases ranging between 8% and 9% for non core and core employees in the A and B categories and an 8% increase in the living out allowance, conditional on a two year wage agreement, remains on the table. 

Northam has further proposed to the CCMA that, in the light of NUM’s intransigent position, that the CCMA’s mediation process be held in abeyance until the New Year. Striking employees have lost R74 million in wages. Northam’s revenue losses to date amount to some R450 million, with expected losses of R500 million for the year."

We took a closer look at Northam and saw they have a dedicated microsite for wage negotiations in 2014. The content includes FAQs, recent updates and a historic overview of process, offer and counter offer. It also outlines how the last series of strikes were dealt with. 


South African deep gold and platinum mines are some of the harshest environments on earth to work in and allowing workers at the rock face to reap the real benefits of enduring such conditions must be the fair and just course of action. But, with mining costs rising and the SA mining industry in severe peril, shouldn't real benefits to workers be long-term financial security and safety? A situation where unsupportable costs escalate, combined with a government becoming unwilling to further support union 'intransigence' was seen in the UK during the 1980's (destrucion of the coal industry).  Realistic discourse for balance has to occur quickly within the Bushveld, the power PGM and gold mines need to oeprate is already causing huge issues with Eskom and, unless a way forward is determined (realistically by the ANC) for SA mining, there will be more Gold Fields, who fled earlier this year. Whats wrong with that we could ask? Cross border capital, debt and operational security are essential for mines to function efficiently... Or at all.