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The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Wedneday rejected “an insulting” wage offer by the Chamber of Mines for coal miners.

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The NUM wants to raise a very serious concern around the attitude being displayed by the Chamber of Mines in the current coal sector wage negotiations by deliberately refusing to respond to the 3,000-rand (about 236-US-dollar) wage increase demand for coal miners of lower categories, the union said.

The union has rejected the current five to 6.5 percent increase offered by the Chamber of Mines.

“The NUM cannot accept the disingenuous insulting offer from the Chamber of Mines,” the union said.

“We once again call on the Chamber of Mines to respond specifically on this matter and stop patronizing us through its arrogance and ignorance,” the union said.

The NUM accused the chamber of negotiating “in bad faith” by trying to sneak in the three years wage agreement on the union.

The union said it is not open for discussion to the three-year deal and thus will stick to the two-year deal.
The NUM said it has made lots of moves and revised quite a number of demands to enhance and entice the chamber to improve its wage offer and other critical demands like housing allowance/living out allowance, commuting allowance, medical aid co-contribution to mention but a few.

“The Chamber is presenting a posture which suggest that the NUM must remove all the most significant demands from the table before they can make a progressive offer and that in our view is regarded as a mischievous move and we are realising that the chamber is patronising the labour movement,” the union said.

The negotiations between the NUM and the chamber hit snags amid threats by mining companies to cut jobs.
A number of mining and steel companies recently announced their plans to cut thousands of jobs due to the decline in commodity prices and lower demand for minerals worldwide.

Up to 30,000 jobs are projected to be lost in the country’s mining sector within the next two years, industrial experts say.
The worsening situation has prompted the government to intervene.

The threat of job losses in the mining and steel sectors is of serious concern to the government as it would have a negative impact on many families, communities and the economy, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

“Mining remains a critical component of the economy and we want it to remain the backbone of the South African economy,” Zuma said in his mid-year State of the Nation Address implementation update to the media in Pretoria.
To address the current job losses in the mining sector, the Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi convened a retreat of tripartite stakeholders in the mining sector last week.

Stakeholders identified a number of areas to save jobs and to find alternatives to job losses.
A task team was established and mandated to develop detailed proposals.

The Presidential Business Working Group last Friday mandated the government and the Chamber of Mines to seek an amicable solution.

Last week the government suspended the licence of coal producer Optimum for unannounced retrenchments.
But following engagements with the company, the suspension was lifted and the company was directed to address issues relating to non-compliance. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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