South African miners in fresh bid for pay rise

City A.M. Reporter
SOUTH Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers has said it will seek pay rises of up to 60 per cent from gold and coal producers, raising the prospect of fresh strikes as firms battle higher costs and falling prices in an already heated labour climate.

Africa’s biggest economy is hoping to avoid the 2012 wildcat strike action at platinum and gold mines that cost billions in lost revenue and production and killed over 50 people.

Mineworkers are mobilising to assert themselves, with the NUM fighting a challenge to its once near monopoly in the shafts from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which has poached tens of thousands of platinum miners from it in a violent struggle for members.

In a submission to the country’s Chamber of Mines, NUM is seeking an entry-level minimum monthly wage of 7,000 rand (£494.40) for gold and coal surface workers and 8,000 rand for those underground.

Elize Strydom, the industrial relations adviser at the Chamber of Mines, said the minimum wage for surface workers is currently 4,700 rand and for underground miners it is 5,000 rand, so the demands for the latter are 60 per cent. NUM also wants 15 per cent increases for “all other wage categories”.