Johannesburg – [miningmx.com] — South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers said on Monday its members at Northam Platinum had started a wage strike following a dispute with management, the latest work stoppage in the country.
One of South Africa’s smaller platinum miners, Northam produced 321 475 ounces of platinum group metals (PGMs) in the year to end-June.
“The strike has already begun, but we will know later whether it will be the entire membership involved,” Lesiba Seshoka, a union spokesperson, said.
Northam was not immediately available for comment.
Northam has offered workers an 8 percent increase in a two-year deal. The NUM is demanding a 15 percent wage rise.
The NUM says it represents over 8 000 miners out of Northam’s 8 600 total workforce. Northam said the union represents 80 percent of the workers.
South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, has been hit by a wave of strikes and strike threats in both the private and public sectors, which have led to above-inflation settlements and stoked fears that the cost of living will rise.
South Africa’s inflation rate slowed to a four-year low of 3.7 percent in July.
Seshoka said new wage negotiations at diversified miner Exxaro had continued on Friday, but he could not say if NUM negotiators at the company and the management had reached an agreement.
Workers at Exxaro’s mineral sands operations have been on a wage strike since August 23 after rejecting an 8 percent wage increase. The NUM is demanding a 14 percent pay rise.