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Chamber 'absolutely not' reopening talks

Oct 04 2012 09:20

Johannesburg - The Chamber of Mines on Thursday denied claims that it was opening wage negotiations early.

"We want to tell everybody out there we respect our agreements... and we have not brought our negotiations forward," chamber senior executive Elize Strydom said on SAFM.

She said a task team had been created to look at matters such as rock drillers' salaries and basic wages. Its work was expected to be completed at the end of October.

Asked whether negotiations set for next year were being brought forward she replied: "Absolutely not".

"We will just take the work of the task team, finish it and do what we have to do about (...the rock drill operators and people at supervisory levels)," she said.

National Union of Mineworkers (Num) secretary-general Frans Baleni said work was being fast-tracked to ensure something was offered to these categories of workers. This would affect around 70% of the workforce in the gold and coal industry.

On Tuesday Num was expecting the Chamber of Mines to present a financial offer in accordance with this agreement, Baleni said.

Strydom added that on Friday Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant would be part of the start of a facilitation process at which all parties in the platinum industry would look at centralising wage bargaining.

A meeting between the Num, the chamber, and trade unions Solidarity and Uasa was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"The chamber further raised the issue that the current unprotected strikes will have devastating negative effects and consequences, especially for the gold sector," said Baleni.

Numerous mines in South Africa, particularly across the platinum belt, had been hit by strikes or disruptions related to pay disputes.

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