Unions intransigent in dispute with Zondereinde

The management of the Zondereinde division of Northam Platinum Limited regrets to advise that the company’s attempts to resolve the deadlock with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Solidarity with regard to the annual wage negotiations have been unsuccessful.

Northam financial director Ayanda Khumalo said today that the union had, to date, refused to consider the company’s financial position, had delayed the negotiations to this late stage of the year, and was being completely unrealistic in declining to shift from its demand for an increase which aggregates 27.9% for the semi-skilled category 2 to 8 employees.

“This is obviously unaffordable for Northam, given the continued volatility in the global economic environment and is exacerbated by the complex geological and mining difficulties which Zondereinde is grappling with. The operation’s very sustainability is at stake.”

Annual wage negotiations had been delayed at Zondereinde owing to the NUM purporting to represent a band of skilled employees (Category 9 and 10) ordinarily represented by Solidarity. Once agreement had been reached between the two unions on their joint representation, the wage negotiations started on 27 September 2011 followed by a further meeting on 13 October, when the company raised its two-year offer to 6.6% for year 1, and 6.8% for year 2. This was in response to the union’s demand for a 12% wage increase and a living out allowance increase of 58%.

Negotiations with NUM for the remaining semi-skilled employees in categories 2 to 8 were derailed at the first meeting on 12 October. The union’s demands at this meeting amounted to:

  • An overall wage increase of 20%
  • A 94% increase in the living out allowance
  • A 483% increase in the allowance payable to hostel residents.

The company remains eager to resolve the current impasse without having to resolve to third party intervention.

Issued by Russell & Associates
Tel: +27 11 880 3924

Queries:

Marion Brower
Russell & Associates
+27 11 880-3924/082 895 0698

Ayanda Khumalo
+27 11 759 6000/072 331 5615

Marco van der Linde
+27 14 784 3000/083 640 5082