NUM declares wage dispute with De Beers

[] — The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has declared a wage dispute with diamond giant De Beers.

In a statement on Monday, the NUM said the dispute had been referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

“The dispute, which may see the NUM going on strike at De Beers, is over a demand for a 15% wage increment, a 5% increase in shift allowance and a 5% increment on continuous operations.”

The NUM said De Beers had so far offered an 8% increment, which it had rejected outright.

“The time has now arrived for us to tackle De Beers. I don’t see how we can’t give them a strike action this time around,” said Peter Bailey, the NUM’s chief negotiator at De Beers.

“The CCMA is a red sign for them. They either heed the call or we bring them down on their knees in a few weeks time,” he said.

The NUM called on companies to approach this year’s negotiations “in good faith” as the cost of living had “tripled with the high cost of electricity.”

De Beers said it would comment in a statement later.