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The National Union of Mineworkers was founded in 1982.

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Expensive open letter sessions cannot resolve wage impasse

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The National Union of Mineworkers is disappointed by the writing and publication of an open letter by Northam CEO and General Manager to its General Secretary Frans Baleni in the City Press. We note their concern that the company is losing millions a day in revenue due to strike action led by NUM. NUM is not surprised ,this is typical of those driven by profit at all cost and least concerned about the sustainability of workers livelihood .

Frans Baleni is the General Secretary of NUM not the Chief Negotiator of the union at Northam. Unfortunately the open letter in the Citypress and Business Day is an expensive public posture intended to mislead the South African public while making the CEO famous for what reason we are yet to know.

For the benefit of all in sundry the NUM wishes to put on record that it successfully avoided joining the wildcat strikes that characterised the platinum belt in 2012 to 2013. We did so out of discipline and care for the sustainability and future of the company, Northam and our members. The open letter is a clear demonstration of lack of appreciation to this gesture by the union.

Currently we have gone on a legal strike action once more demonstrating maturity and respect for the rule of law because we are committed to peaceful and bloodless resolution of worker issues with management .It is extremely regrettable that both the Manager and the CEO are failing to embrace the care we have demonstrated in a period of difficult attacks on NUM in the platinum belt.

We wish to extend word of advice to Glyn Lewis, Northam CEO, and company General Manager, Danny Gonsalves to desist the temptation to negotiate through the arrogance of power and avoid entering the negotiations with belligerence posture because that makes innovative thinking extremely difficult. The notion of employers offering so called ‘final offer’ is a typical point, a manifestation of their intransigence which defeats the basis of successful negotiations.

This kind of intransigence is responsible to thinking that writing public letters to the negotiating partner who is just at the opposite side of the boardroom table is part of persuasive skills .Very strange behaviour indeed. The Northam leadership thinks that the solution could emerge from the public gallery normally dominated by the company`s think alikes who believe that squandering hundreds of thousands of money on adverts is the preferred evil than channelling that money to address wage demands and alleviate workers living conditions .

This demonstrates a clear deficit of emotional intelligence so important for leadership qualities in the corporate world in which the company operates. Shareholders must worry more about the kind of leadership it has charged to run the company than worry about the reasonable demands workers make.

If Glyn Lewis, Northam CEO, and company General Manager , Danny should have realised that the best solution to the current impasse would have been to channel the money spent on advertising the open letter towards improving the wage offer which would have been positive and constructive .

The notion that when workers demand better pay mining companies allege that this would trigger a higher cost base which will reduce the company`s profitability is not plausible and must be condemned with the contempt it deserves because what management and the executives get in remuneration as individuals and as a collective has much worse impact on the cost base of these mining companies . This effectively presents them as looting brigade with little interest to workers and the company except their selfish interest.

Every element of the submission NUM has tabled is a mandate from our members and not from the public the company is appealing to in its expensive open letter sessions. NUM is still open for further constructive negotiations 24 hours.

For more information, please contact:
NUM General Secretary- Frans Baleni- 082 375 6443
Ecliff Tantsi-Chief Negotiator-082 941 4210
Mike Fafuli - Political Advisor 0828036419
Livhuwani Mammburu- Acting NUM Spokesperson-083 809 3257
Source Url: http://www.num.org.za/News/tabid/91/entryid/21/expensive-open-letter-sessions-cannot-resolve-wage-impasse.aspx
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