NUM, De Beers poised to sign wage deal

[] — Members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the world’s largest diamond miner De Beers Consolidated Mines have agreed to sign a wage deal, the union said on Tuesday.

The union said the official signing of the agreement would take place at De Beers’ headquarters on Wednesday.

The deal comprised a 10% pay rise for employees in the upper salary bands and 9.5% for those in the lower bands, as well as an 8% shift allowance, the NUM’s chief negotiator Peter Bailey said in a statement.

“This is an important offer and achievement for workers given that we have already achieved the R5000 minimum at De Beers.”

Bailey said NUM was proud of its achievements “and we hope De Beers has learnt something out of this whole process”.

“We could have achieved all these without threats of strike action or the intervention of a third party, in this case the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).”

De Beer’s said in a separate statement that it appreciated the mediation role carried out by the CCMA.

“We sought to find common ground with the NUM negotiating team and we reached that point last week,” De Beers industrial relations head Wayne Smerdon said.

He said the settlement affected 1587 employees in the bargaining unit on De Beers’ five mines in South Africa.

“The company has settled the current wage negotiations amicably. The matter was taken to the CCMA by the NUM and not, as suggested, by the company.

“No strike certificate, which the CCMA may issue due to non resolution of a dispute, was ever issued.”

Smerdon said there had been no disruption to the mines, or to the livelihood of De Beers employees.

“The company looks forward to a year focused on recovering from the recession, and building a robust business wherein every employee contributes meaningfully,” Smerdon said