Pay raise prevents De Beers strike

Frans Baleni, general secretary of NUM speaks on HardTalk, BBC.

De Beers miners were set to strike Friday afternoon over wages when their employer – the world’s largest diamond miner – agreed to 9% pay raises, South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) told Bloomberg.

Strikes were scheduled in mines across several provinces, including Free State, Northern Cape and Limpopo but were called off when negotiations succeeded.

NUM had taken worker’s complaints through the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), a labour dispute resolution body, but had received a certificate of non-resolution to the dispute at which point they announced strike action.

The union had demanded a 13% wage increase while the company had offered 6%. Miners were also asking for extra leave days and were granted across-the-board increases of two days.

De Beers’ South African mining operations employ 2,550 people, 1,300 of which are NUM members, a company spokesman told Bloomberg.

South Africa’s gold producers may face tougher battles than De Beers in the future. A fast-growing labour coalition, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, recently called on gold producers to more than double the wages of entry-level miners. In May NUM called for 60% wage increases for gold miners.

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