Kumba revises offer to end strike

[miningmx.com] — Kumba Iron Ore on Monday revised its offer for a pay raise as it sought to end a strike by thousands of its workers, a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) official said.

Kumba, a unit of global miner Anglo American, and the world’s 10th-largest iron ore producer, said last week the strike would not significantly affect its production due to sufficient iron ore stockpiles.

“There is a revised offer … and a draft agreement, which will be taken to our members (on Tuesday). I cannot divulge the contents of the agreement now, but there is the possibility of our members perhaps accepting it,” NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told Reuters.

Officials at Kumba could not immediately reached for the comment.

The NUM is demanding pay raises of between 7.5% and 10 % – depending on the status of workers – in a one-year deal. Kumba had offered wage increases of between 7% and 9.5% on a two-year deal.

The NUM said last week the strike would affect Kumba’s operations at its Sishen, Kolomela and Thabazimbi units.

South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, has been hit by a wave of strikes and strike threats, which have led to pay settlements well above inflation, currently at 3.5%.

A strike by NUM members at Northam Platinum entered its fifth week on Monday.

Northam, one of South Africa’s smaller platinum producers, had offered an 8.5% pay rise increase, below NUM’s demand of a 12% increment.

The NUM is also demanding R3 500 as a monthly housing allowance.

Seshoka said the union and Northam failed to reach agreement over wages in talks on Monday.

A smaller union, Solidarity, last week signed a wage deal with Northam, while NUM had rejected the offer.

The strike at the Zondereinde mine in South Africa was costing Northam 1 000 ounces per day in lost production of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs).