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Strike looming in the coal mining sector

Strike could have far-reaching effect on all mining operations

Parties to the coal mining sector wage negotiations in the Chamber of Mines have reached a deadlock, this morning [7 July 2011]. UASA, NUM and Solidarity consequently declared a dispute.

The demands on the table from UASA and The National Union of Mine Workers (NUM) are 14% and Solidarity on 12%, plus a number of “other” demands.

The Employers countered by offering a 6% across the board increase to category 4 workers and a 5% across the board increase (excluding Delmas Colliery) to all other workers, on condition that the unions drop all their “other” demands on the table.

"The offer from the employers is totally unacceptable and does not go anywhere near to address the demands from our members," says Franz Stehring, UASA’s chief negotiator for coal mining sector negotiations. "Our members have put forward certain conditions of employment demands along with a demand for a cost of living adjustment in order to cope with continuous rises in all cost of living items.

"We find the positional approach from the employers towards addressing the demands from our members highly insensitive hence we had no other option but to declare a dispute. The dispute is scheduled to be mediated upon by the CCMA on 20 July 2011. If no way forward is to be found, we will proceed with obtaining a mandate from our members to go on strike which could see all mining operations come to a standstill. Should the latter happen, it could put the electricity generating capacity of ESKOM under severe pressure," says Stehring.