Shabangu to mediate in Xstrata dispute

[] — THE Minister of Mineral Resources, Susan Shabangu, is to help resolve a dispute between the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) and Xstrata.

“Xstrata welcomes the offer by the Minister of Mineral Resources to facilitate discussions with Num, and looks forward to a swift end to industrial action,” the company said on Monday.

An initial discussion convened by the department of mineral resources would take place on Monday afternoon.

Num members at Xstrata downed tools on October 16 in protest against the terms of an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP).

The Num wanted all members to receive an equal number of shares, regardless of their position in the company.

Xstrata was offering workers shares proportionate to their employment grade.

In reaction to the strike, Xstrata withdrew the ESOP proposal last week, although it said it “remains committed to the principle of an ESOP that is in line with the company’s global remuneration principles”.

Xstrata said there had been no material change in the strike’s impact on production.

“Customers continue to receive material shipped from existing stockpiles,” the company said.

On Friday, Num members handed over a memorandum to Xstrata following a march to its offices in at Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.

The memorandum demanded the company reinstate the ESOP.

“The issue is very clear… in terms of the mining charter there should be employee ownership,” Num head negotiator Eddie Majadibodu said at the time.