By Carli Lourens & Mkhululi Mancotywa
There is a “formal” dispute after negotiations failed today, “paving the way for a massive strike action,” Lesiba Seshoka, spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers, South Africa’s largest labor union, said in a phone message today.
NUM is one of three unions disputing the Johannesburg-based Chamber of Mines’ proposal to raise coal miners’ wages by 5 percent to 6 percent, depending on skills, the chamber said in a separate e-mailed statement. The body negotiates on behalf of Anglo’s thermal coal unit, Xstrata, Exxaro Resources Ltd. (EXX), Optimum Coal Holdings (OPT) and Kangra Coal, spokesman Jabu Maphalala said by phone from Johannesburg today.
The union is demanding a 14 percent wage increase. That’s three times the consumer inflation rate of 4.6 percent for May.
The union will ask the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration today for a certificate of non- resolution, a procedural step necessary before unions are allowed to strike in South Africa, the world’s largest platinum producer and a coal supplier to power plants in Europe.
CCMA will host a meeting between labor representatives and the companies on July 20, the chamber said.
Following separate negotiations with Anglo’s platinum unit today, NUM said it will ask members for a mandate to call a strike after it rejected Anglo American Platinum Ltd.’s offer to raise pay by 4.6 percent. The company, which mines almost all of its platinum in South Africa, is the world’s largest producer. (By bloomberg)