Update 2: Gold miners, Unions set for a showdown today

by By Chris Bishop 0

Miners and Unions are set for a showdown today as miners will table their offer.

About 50 National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members are picketing as Union bosses are waiting for an offer from mining companies.

The picketers chanted in a winter sunshine “when we come, cowards run away”, adding “there is no need for war as it kills people”. The chants were being made in Zulu, a dorminant local language. 

The meeting between Union bosses and miners started shortly after 11 am today. The mining executives will table their offers and are set to hold individual bilateral talks with individual union leaders later on.

The gold employers of South Africa will make their pay offer for a new three year pay deal from July 1 – and the unions are likely to be furious.

Unions representing 93,000 gold miners want between 100 and 80 per cent increase from employers including Anglo Gold Ashanti, Evander, Sibanye and Village Main Reef.

The majority union, the National Union of Mineworkers, hinted last week that it could work with an offer of 20 per cent, but sources say the employers are likely to offer between four and six per cent today at the wage negotiations in Boksburg to the east of Johannesburg.

The second largest union, AMCU, says it won’t accept any offer that its members disagree with and is prepared to strike.

The mines plead poverty and say rising costs mean more than half of the gold operations in South Africa are marginal. Power costs have hit the mines hard and wages make up 55 per cent of gold mining costs. 

Chris Bishop is Forbes Africa’s Managing Editor.