Unions lure gold firm CEOs back to table

2012-10-03 22:22

Johannesburg - Discussions on re-opening wage negotiations with striking mineworkers will begin on Thursday, said Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

He was addressing thousands of striking Gold Fields workers over a megaphone on a hill outside Carletonville on Wednesday night.

All CEOs of gold-producing mines would meet with the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at 13:00 to discuss the need to re-open wage negotiations, he said to cheers.

"All that is going to happen is not because of Vavi or [NUM president Senzeni Zokwana]. The power is in the workers," he said.

Also up for discussion at the meeting were services mines were required to provide, such as clinics and schools.

Vavi told the crowd that Cosatu and the NUM had met with Gold Fields' CEO Nick Holland earlier in the day.

The had agreed that the strikers should go back to the mine hostels and should continue their strike at a nearby soccer stadium, where they had gathered until now.

However, the crowd shouted that mine security would shoot them if they went back.

Vavi invited them to tell him if this happened.

He said there were conditions attached to the agreement, one of which was that the miners would not be allowed to take weapons into the stadium.

It was also agreed Gold Fields would switch on the water at the hostels and that the kitchens would work as normal.

Vavi reiterated his support for the workers and told them that if workers had to die while striking, he would die with them. "We will die together," he said.

"Employees should stay united," said Zokwana.

As the mineworkers made their way back to the hostels, some were pleased not to spend another night on the hill, and others were relieved that progress was being made in their wage negotiations.

"It's coming. The most important thing is that Gold Fields didn't want to come to the table, but at last they have convinced [Holland] to start discussions," said Senso Maphinda, 31.

"There is hope."

On Wednesday night, the NUM announced that wage negotiations in the gold and coal mining industries would reopen under an agreement reached in a meeting in Johannesburg between the Chamber of Mines, the NUM, Solidarity and UASA .

"The Chamber agreed to negotiate... [an] increase for entry level workers, [and] adjustment or upgrading for operators, which includes rockdrill operators...," spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Petmin said on Wednesday that striking workers at its Somkhele anthracite mine, near Mtubatuba, in KwaZulu-Natal, could be dismissed in terms of a court interdict.

"The workers, who are employed by Sandton Plant Hire (SPH), a contractor at the mine, have again been urged to return to work and to pursue their grievances through recognised negotiating channels," mine spokesperson Jonathon Rees said in a statement.

SPH had obtained a court interdict which declared the strike illegal and allowed SPH to take any legal steps necessary to resolve the situation.

"In terms of the interdict, disciplinary action against striking workers may include dismissal," Rees said.

The Witness reported on Wednesday that a security guard was hacked to death on Monday night, apparently by striking workers.

The strike at Somkhele started last week and the first violence was reported on Monday night.

The workers wanted a take-home salary of between R10 000 and R15 000 a month.

They currently earned between R4 000 and R6 000.

  • letsatsi.gabriel - 2012-10-03 23:43

    the people like senzeni zokwana when are they going to give other people a chance to lead num.

  • letsatsi.gabriel - 2012-10-03 23:46

    mantashe and zokwana where corupt @ he is doing it with zuma,when are you going to stop.

  • letsatsi.gabriel - 2012-10-03 23:47

    vavi you where not suporting second term for zuma what happend.

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-10-04 05:06

    Miners will only be happy when mines all close down like in Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the real world business cannot afford to more than double their wage bill. This culture of entitlement will stop mining in SA. Then the mines will be sold to Chinese and they will import labor at R3000 a month

      hermann.hanekom - 2012-10-04 06:01

      R3000 per month from China! You must be kidding, R1000 sounds more like it!

      douglas.reid.921 - 2012-10-04 06:44

      In china you will work all day for a bowl of noodles. They have the death penalty and use it regularly.

      Fundi - 2012-10-09 02:21

      I wonder what would happen if things could change.were all these people who against the be in the shoes of thesw miners,who leave in a shack without facilities go home with R4000,work hard underground be vunerable to T8.SURELY THESE PEOPLE DISERVE MUCH MORE.THEY ARE CONDEMED TO POVERTY UNTIL DEATH.VALUE FOR MONEY.THIS MODULE OF CPIX PLUS 1 IS CONDEMING PEOPLE TO POVERTY IT DOES NOT WORK FOR S.A.FIRST GIVE THE PEOPLE A LIVING WAGE SO THAT THEY CAN BUY HOUSES WERE THE WANT.NOT TO LEAVE IN KRAALS(so call townships)

  • Tshepo Gwamanda - 2012-10-04 06:00

    We need to take a serious look on things when it comes to mining! This employer and employee relationship is not working at the mines! How about partnerships!? with your employees and communities around the mines!? The current employer and employee relationship leads to exploitation of mine workers!!! Mine workers are seriously underpaid in this country whilst MEGA profits are made by the mine owners!!! at the expense of our workers!!! For this reason only ANY sensible person will support workers demands for better pay!!

      Tshepo Gwamanda - 2012-10-04 06:49

      No Quickie!!! Don't be silly! We need partnerships, mine owners need to be more responsible in areas they mining in! Look at Anglo American mines, they build houses for workers, schools and clinics in communities around the mines!! mine workers have share scheme of the mines!! why can't other mine owners do the same!? Greed is the word!!!!

  • breinlekkasie.dodelikegif - 2012-10-04 06:10


  • menelik.mvunge - 2012-10-04 06:38

    I am 100% behind all the strikes that are taking place after the marikana tragedy but it doesn't reside well in me that it all had take place after the loss of many souls,The mining industry is a very lucrative and the most profiting business that exploits workers and ensures that workers are maintained in a subordante way by any means neccessary,let's spare the financial tragedy of workers aside a bit and focus on the fascilities and conditions workers are suppose to live under during working days eg the hostels while those of hgher ranks luxury is organised hostels have been with the industry for too long and there are toilet facilties for different ranks those of workers are unhygienic to the core as they do not even use the siphonic system(do not flush) so tranformation in terms of treatment will be vital in the matter of workers I can say the same of construction workers those are two industries which you can able see that the spirit of aprtheid system is resting on a shallow grave,there's a lot of eveil and unjust things happening besides there besides salarie robbery that explains the violence of workers when they protest these so called unions must follow up the treatment of workers after the consensus of this salarie issue I dare them.

  • madoda.monamudi - 2012-10-04 06:58

    Viva Vavi u are better than the government I wish u can be the President one day.

  • Siyabonga Adolphas Buthelezi - 2012-10-04 06:58

    Sean Wolf you are such an idiot,do you know that?

  • Kalari - 2012-10-04 07:30

    Unions have no control over workers so negotiations are obsolete and a waste of time. Close the mines for three months so people can learn and then start employing non union members. And then no Ramaphosa style labour brokers.

      johan.vanhoff - 2012-10-04 07:42


  • marc.ross.965 - 2012-10-04 07:49

    This is an illegal strike.Marikana has set a presedent where thuggery and disregard for law is rewarded.If these CEO's capitulate now the economy of this country will be ruled by the panga and the rock. Allowing criminals to dictate now is the start of the end.

  • sean.tearnan - 2012-10-04 08:10

    Num and Cosatu say they represent the workers. Hahaha they represent there own pockets. No wonder the workers are striking and neg without the unions. The press should report true facts about NUM and Cosatu and what they take out of each increase and what there arrangments with the mines are. This is bad for SA as why would a company invest in SA when we show the world the way we negotiate when we have grievances. The uneducated masses see this is how you get a salary increase you strike with violence/intimadation etc. And Vavi comment I will die with you, is all political crap

  • danny.holando - 2012-10-06 10:42

    If these mines were all nationalized would we be seeing the same demands of the ANC Government for doubling of salary?? - more importantly how would the ANC government react in this situation. Many reports on this site suggest that the the investors who started the mines in the first place do not deserve their fat cat life styles. For the less well informed this is called 'business' - the investors deserve rewards for the risks that they take in putting up the investment capital in the first place! Here is a question - if these strikes are illegal then how long can this go on before they can legally fire the lot of them?

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