Johannesburg - Gold mine owners and unions representing
picketing workers said Wednesday they had reached a deal to end months of industrial
unrest that has curbed production of the precious metal.
The Chamber of Mines and the National Union of Mineworkers
(NUM) agreed to a series of pay rises that will now be put to striking workers
for approval beginning Wednesday.
The deal will include a pay increase for entry-level
workers, and an "allowance" for rock drill and other operators.
In a face-saving measure - designed to avoid a precedent -
the parties insisted the current two-year wage deal was not renegotiated.
Instead the deal cast aside lower pay categories,
automatically giving entry-level workers a bump.
"When you talk about moving a miner from grade three to
four this is an increase. They have agreed to increase wages in line with the
current wages agreement," NUM said.
Earlier the chamber said "it has recognised that there
are certain anomalies that need to be addressed and has made proposals to
As part of the deal there will also be a commission of
inquiry into the working and living conditions at the mines.
"It is critical that all the parties show leadership in
restoring stability to the mining industry and bringing an end to the
unprotected industrial action that is besetting the industry," said Elize
Strydom, a chamber's negotiator said.
"This is important not only for the companies, the
unions and the mineworkers, but also for the economic and social well-being of
the country as a whole."
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