Vavi speaks of new mines pay offer

2012-10-17 19:22

Carletonville - The Chamber of Mines might improve its pay offer to striking Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] employees if they returned to work, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Wednesday.

This option was only available to workers if they adhered to an ultimatum to return to work by Thursday, Vavi told strikers at the company's KDC west mine outside Carletonville.

"It is up to you [to go back to work]."

He advised them to discuss the matter and decide on a course of action.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions and National Union of Mineworkers would meet with the chamber on Thursday to attempt to improve an amended wage offer made to KDC west workers last week.

Vavi said charges against the six employees who were arrested for inciting violence had been dropped, much to the joy of the crowd.

After Wednesday's meeting KDC west workers were adamant they would not go back to work on Thursday.

"I am not going to work without equalisation," miner Victor Montshi said, referring to workers getting the equal pay for doing the same kinds of work.

Another echoed these sentiments.

"How much is an increase on that? That is the question," asked Clement Ntlantlapo.

The workers agreed to meet again on Thursday morning. The miners had been on strike for more than a month for a monthly wage of R12 500.

Other demands included equalisation, wanting their original pay slips, the keys to the local NUM office, and that no worker should be victimised when returning to work.

Last week, the workers were given a pamphlet notifying them of a final strike settlement.

The lowest-paid underground workers were offered a monthly salary of R8464. After deductions this amounted to a basic salary of R4840.

The highest-paid worker would receive a salary of R12 410. After deductions, such as a living-out allowance and medical aid, they would be left with a basic salary of R8041.

The lowest-paid surface workers were offered R7648 -- R4235 after deductions. The highest-paid surface workers were offered R11 440 which would come to R7311 after deductions.

This offer excluded additional bonuses, overtime, and other allowances.

Gold Fields on Tuesday issued a final ultimatum to all striking workers at the KDC West and Beatrix four shaft to present themselves for work by no later than 2pm Thursday, October 18, or face immediate dismissal.

Company spokesperson Willie Jacobsz said: "There has been a lot of informing and consultations taking place. We can expect them tomorrow (Thursday) at best."

The ultimatum did not apply to the 8500 KDC East workers who went on strike on Sunday, but the company had applied for an interdict declaring that strike unlawful.

On Wednesday, Gold Fields reported a full turnout of 6200 employees at the number one, two, and three shafts at its Beatrix mine in the Free State.

"This follows after striking workers, who have been on an unprotected strike since 24 September 2012, started returning to work yesterday (Tuesday)."

About 2800 employees at the Beatrix four shaft (formerly Oryx gold mine), 11 000 at KDC West, and 8500 at KDC East, remained on an unprotected strike.

Gold Fields had lost about R1.2bn in revenue and 65 000 ounces in gold production due to the strike. The company had saved R900m in wages over the same period, CEO Nick Holland said.

The company had been left with little option but to issue the ultimatums, given the escalating violence among strikers. This included intimidation, attempted murder, and damage to property.

Earlier on Wednesday a Gold Fields employee was assaulted. The man, apparently a former National Union of Mineworkers member, arrived on the soccer field where striking workers were having a meeting, Ntlantlapo said.

"The workers were very upset. It looked like he was making notes. People beat him up. It was bad. He was bleeding." He said other workers intervened and stopped the beating.

"We just pushed the security away, we don't want them involved. They are our enemies." Paramedics attended to the man outside the stadium.

"He is alright and has gone home. He was not hurt that bad," worker Victor Montshi said.

On Wednesday the mine handed out a pamphlet to workers at KDC West reminding them of the Thursday deadline to return to work.

"You are participating in unprotected strike action," it read.

"You and/or your representatives have failed to give reasons why a final ultimatum should not be issued and why you should not be dismissed for failing to report to work."

It stated that no further ultimatums would be given and workers dismissed if they failed to report to work. If employees went back to work and the mine was working normally by 2pm the company would implement the wage adjustments.

"The company reserves its right to take appropriate disciplinary action. Please note that you can also be held liable for any losses suffered as a consequence of this unlawful strike," the note read.

  • dave.leverton - 2012-10-17 19:29

    'charges against the six employees who were arrested for inciting violence had been dropped' No accountability, just like the government. Sies !

  • Tebogo Phiri - 2012-10-17 20:21

    they should state the amount first before they go to work so that they may decide if the amount is what they want or not

  • brian.semake - 2012-10-17 20:51

    I do not condone violence however they are underpaid. Mining bosses must pay a fair wages these miners they do not have share options or huge salary packages. If the company is doing well all must share fairly its a simple concept.

      heinrich.etsebeth - 2012-10-18 08:08

      Do the math. 1.2mil earnings vs 0.9mil salaries... that is a 25% difference just based on salaries. Then you have to take into account electricity, equipment, maintenance, explosives, water etc... etc... etc... so you actually think that a company that makes less than 25% markup on their product is sustainable when people start asking for double their salaries. Use some logic please.

  • jmlongwe - 2012-10-17 21:12

    If they offer R4000 now, then how much were they paying before. I dont even want to imagine the level of exploitation that happened there.

      pamella.mcoyana - 2012-10-17 21:40

      They hv added by R200 which mean the is no gain at all

  • aiazmir - 2012-10-17 22:17

    I love it. Cosatu is being rendered toothless by its former adherents because they, and the ANC, have not delivered on promises made. Cosatu is a "double-speak" organisation, they say one thing then do another.

  • themba.thwala.98 - 2012-10-18 05:57

    Spoken like a champion of the poor working class. Now hop into your top of the range Range Rover Vavi, park at Sunninghill Virgin Active for a workout, take a shower, hop into your Range Rover again and cruise to your Suninghill mention, burning only R2000 on gas in the process - yes, the very same pittance which some of your constituent members earn a month in return for risking their lives day after day descending into the belly of the earn in order to dig for gold that they cannot afford once processed

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-10-18 19:23

      Tell him Themba....Vat hom floffie..

  • lhensby - 2012-10-18 08:11

    Maybe I should strike my boss gave us a 3% increase my salary went from R 2200 to R 2266 a month! I'm just glad I have work and can pay my rent and electricity! Wake up S.A. Work is scarce!

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-10-18 19:24

      How much did they knock off that for Zumaville?

  • mzondistanley - 2012-10-18 15:21

    There is reason for Concern for it is our Country that is being destroyed by Investers who at best are Foregners, if their Bird does not Catch a worm then they go to Another Country. So By not Caring for workers demands and Workers conditions it is The Country that is made to become POORER!! AND a POOR cCountry can not feed its Citizens!! So Wobaba, Let us Change Tactic we are Shooting ourselves in the FOOT!! By Not understanding that Employers Federation is bent on BLEEDING OUR economy to Povelty!! I Appeal to COSATU, NUM, THE CHURCH, NUMSA and Police(SECURITY). TO NOW FOCUS on bargaining around the Table !! AM positive that Employers Federation have learnt a LESSON of THEIR LIFE time not to Disregard Workers Concerns just because they belong to LABOUR HIRE ORGANIZATIONS!! This should be abolished through COSATU, SAME as E TOLLING SYSTEM. Through Strike we have registered our Concerns and there are more Organizations which support our Concerns so let us go back and work, others should sit around the table with Employers to negotiate the details of Pay!! 0 0 Reply to Mzimba58 | 0 comments (hide) | Delete

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