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The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) held its executive meeting at Elijah Barayi Memorial Training College in Johannesburg on 24-25 July 2014. The NEC is the highest decision-making body of the union apart from the Central Committee and the National Congress. It resolved on the following pronouncements:
1.1 Visible interactive leadership
The NEC resolved that all its National Office Bearers should be in the trenches engaging with members in all provinces and no one should spent time in the office or overwhelmed by any interest other than that of the organisation which is servicing members in line with the Central Committee Declaration and pronouncements .
It further urged all leaders to respect branch processes and ensure discipline by defending the democratic integrity of the branch and regional processes during conferences and that all leaders should preach unity in the spirit of ‘We are stronger together’.
2. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
2.1 Royal Bafokeng
The NEC welcomed the signing of a three-year ground breaking wage agreement with the Royal Bafokeng Platinum.
The NEC wishes to express its sincere gratitude to its members in the manner in which they conducted themselves during the negotiation phase up until the signing of the agreement. The struggle for a living wage continues and it shall be won through experience and discipline both these elements have shortened the bargaining turn around which is important and consistent with our history and vision.
The wage agreement between NUM and Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RB Plat) Mines demonstrates the maturity and commitment to working with stakeholders to find solutions to address these issues and to deliver sustainable benefits for all involved.
This agreement is expected to increase the total labour cost-to-company by 9.1 on average, over 3-year period.
The increases are effective from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2017. Each year of the agreement, beginning 1 July 2014 until 30 June 2017, all employees within the A to D1 categories will receive increases on their basic pay, on a sliding scale as follows:
2.1.1 Rock Drill Operators
Employees employed and utilised as Development or Stoping Machine Operators ( Rock Drill Operators) will receive 10.5%, 10.5% and 9.5%, each year;
A1 to B7 Band employees (excluding Rock Drill Operators) will receive 10%, 10% and 9% each year;
2.1.2 Supervisory Bargaining Unit
Employees in the Supervisory Bargaining Unit will receive 8%, 8% and 7% each year. The parties have also increased the minimum wages of employees over the period.
2.1.3 Lowest paid
The lowest paid underground workers at Royal Bafokeng Platinum mine are to get a monthly top up of R2 000.00 for the first year, R2 400.00 for the second year and R2 806.00 for the third year for the duration of the wage agreement. This agreement will see the lowest paid worker earn over R12 000 a month within this period.
The lowest paid workers will, within the next two years, have a guaranteed package of R14 594, plus bonus and overtime. This compares favourably with the settlement reached by some of the major platinum producers after an internecine five-month-strike action.
2.1.4 Medical Aid
The company will pay 100% medical aid for the lowest paid employees and for the supervisors the company will pay 70% subsidy for their medical aid.
Furthermore the company will pay R2 600-housing subsidy for the lowest paid employees in the first year and R3 900 for the third year. In the first year, the employees will only contribute R400 towards their bond which is R3 000. The value of the houses being built for our members in Rustenburg is R600 000 and the payment of bond of R3 000 person that includes tax and rates.
2.1.6 Pension Fund
The company will contribute 7% for pension fund and 7% for provident fund. The total contribution in both funds by the company will be 14 %. Employees will contribute 7 % towards both funds.
2.1.7 Bonus and other matters
A minimum monthly bonus for the production crew is R 9000 minimum per person if the employee had worked 350 per square metre and the maximum will R18 000 for 450 to 500 per square metre excluding their monthly salary. Employees working on production total including bonuses take home around R28 000 per month.
This arrangement confirms that the bargaining strategy of NUM is not only relevant today it remains effective and interactive. The workers are still united and decent wage has been achieved. Most importantly this is an agreement shaped by the collective wisdom of the workers and management .NUM did not need to import any reinforcement to advance its interest and this is victory for the power of mineworkers.
NUM is well aware that these constructive developments and ground breaking agreement make little news headlines in the media in South Africa because violence and populist posturing which attract attention were never part of this settlement.
The NEC is also happy that NUM has ended the marathon wage negotiations with Aquarius with a 3 year agreement.
The NEC noted that Aquarius is a low-grade platinum producer in South Africa and the expectations are always very high from the employees to equal the other companies wage agreements in the area.
2.2.1 The details are as follows:
The parties have agreed that the following increases will be applied in the application of monthly salary increases:
Key categories (Minimum Surface, Minimum Underground, Miner Assistant, RDO, Team leader UG);
Employees above will receive 12% on year 1, 11% on year 2 and 11% on year three;
The other remaining categories ( Clerks, LCA, UV driver, LHD driver, Roof Bolter)
Employees in this category will receive 10% on year 1, 10% on year 2 and 10% on year three.
2.3 Anglo platinum
The NEC rejects the Anglo Platinum approach of imposing wage agreements which effectively worsens conditions of service for workers and wishes to warn the company that it is the result of this kind of corporate belligerent attitude by the platinum companies that plummeted the platinum sector into turmoil from 2012 to present. The NEC calls on the company to exercise care and not facilitate conditions that make history repeat itself.
2.3.1 Anglo Platinum Sale
The NEC furthermore rejects the decision of Amplats to sell its oldest South African platinum mines. It believes this would leave thousands of mineworkers jobless thereby increase unemployment and aggravate poverty in South Africa. The NEC has resolved to engage the company in a bid to look and alternatives to save these jobs. The unity of the workers is very important in this regard .Furthermore the NEC urges the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to interrogate the proposed sale against the commitments made during licensing process.
3. SECTOR INTERFACE
NUM is still locked in wage negotiations process with the following companies: Kumba Iron Ore, De Beers, Petra Diamonds and Eskom.
The NUM has declared a dispute with Eskom and the wage negotiations are now handled under the auspices of the CCMA. The National Eskom Shop Stewards Council took place on the 18th July 2014 and decided that NUM members at Eskom shall embark on a march to Eskom Head office to handover a memorandum of grievances. This is in line with NUM rejection of Eskom offer of 5.6% salary increase.
3.1.2 Gold and Coal Sector
The NEC also wishes to indicate that NUM negotiators have already started the planning for 2015 gold and coal wage negotiations.
4. OTHER MATTERS
4.1 Mining Indaba
The NEC fully supports the call for a mining Indaba by the Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi as mentioned during his budget vote speech in Parliament recently.
4.2 ENERGY MIX
4.2.1 Nuclear Energy
The NEC urges the Minister of Energy to do a proper study. It is the considered view of the NEC that government cannot afford to spend R1 trillion on 9000 megawatts. After careful engagement, the NEC has noted the challenges: financing nuclear energy projects, the apparent nuclear project management skills deficit, time delays and budget overruns, radioactive waste management, and the safety and health risks associated with nuclear energy. The NEC, therefore, concludes that South Africa is not ready to embrace to nuclear energy.
4.2.2 Clean Energy
The NEC supports all positive attempts to promote the use of renewable energy as part of the energy mix. It is the view of the NEC that renewable energy must be promoted to ensure that clean energy is affordable.
The NEC further supports reasonable measures to increase the strengthening of Eskom including augmenting its generation capacity to effectively deliver service and shall not approve of any attempt to dismantle the entity.
5. CCMA AND LABOUR COURT RECORD KEEPING
The NEC is concerned that the CCMA is losing valuable records which have the potential to jeopardise cases : These involve loss of documents , records or case recordings and this situation has often forced parties at dispute to rebuild or reconstruct cases. The NEC therefore urges the Minister of Justice and Minister of Labour to intervene to remedy the situation and protect the integrity of this institution.
5.2 Labour Court
The Labour Court also has challenges in terms of documents & record keeping. Similarly this has compelled parties to reconstruct cases which we believe disadvantage dismissed workers.
6. OUTSTANDING MONIES
The NEC urges various retirement funds to ensure that the R4.7 billion is paid to the beneficiaries where possible this should be done without costs.
7. INTERNATIONAL MATTERS
7.1 Israel aggression
The NEC strongly condemns the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the killing of dozens of innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by Israeli government .The NEC therefore calls for immediate ceasefire. The NEC supports government initiatives in contributing to the resolution of the conflict between Hamas and the Israel Regime.
7.2 Rio Tinto Campaign
The Precarious Work Campaign meeting which strategizes on anti Rio Tinto campaigns will take place on the 7th October 2014. Rio Tinto is notorious for its union bashing tactics and abuse of precarious workers. As a result the IndustriALL launched a global corporate campaign against Rio Tinto on the 6th February 2014 to confront the abusive and exploitative behaviour of this global entity .The struggle continues.
8. PENDING EVENTS
8.1 Mining Lekgotla: 13-14 August 2014
This year’s Lekgotla will be convened under the theme: "Building on the contribution of mining since the advent of Democracy- The past we acknowledge and the future we build."
Discussions under this theme will be led by Mineral Resources minister, Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi with the President of the Chamber of Mines, Mr Mike Teke, General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, Mr Frans Baleni, and Mr Gideon Du Plessis the General Secretary of Solidarity.
8.2 HEALTH AND SAFETY
8.2.1 Mines Health and Safety Council Summit (MHSC)
The Summit will take place on the 18th-19th of November 2014. The objective of the summit is as follows reflect on the following :
milestone performance by Mining Companies on the commitments made on improving health and safety
MHSC action plan and review of the milestones for 2014 and beyond.
launch the Centre of Excellence model
8.2.2 Increasing fatalities
The NEC wishes to express its concern on the increasing level of fatalities and the growing trend of companies in concealing injuries. The NEC condemns any behaviour which puts profits above lives of the workers.
To this effect NUM will be noting the Health & Safety Day taking place on the 1st October 2014 as part of promoting health and safety at the workplace.
9. KILLINGS IN THE PLATINUM BELT
The NEC condemns the recent attack in the platinum belt which includes the
shooting of Samancor Chrome mine worker in Kroondal last Wednesday and the murder of Bongani ‘Bahyi’ Mehlonkomo killed in Marikana last Tuesday. The NEC calls for law enforcement agencies to do their work and apprehend the culprits.
For more information, please contact:
Livhuwani Mammburu: 083 809 3257 : Acting NUM National Spokesperson
Frans Baleni: 082 375 6443: NUM General Secretary
7 Rissik Street. Cnr Frederick, Johannesburg
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257
Twitter: @Num Media