National Union of Mineworkers members chant and sing. Picture: SOWETAN
National Union of Mineworkers members chant and sing. Picture: SOWETAN

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) announced on Thursday that it has been awarded a certificate to embark on a strike against coal sector employers.

The NUM has been engaged in wage negotiations with the Chamber of Mines since June when an agreement signed in 2015 expired.

The strike, if carried out, could affect some of the largest coal producers, including Glencore, Anglo American and Exxaro.

In a statement, the union said it had applied for a certificate of non-resolution at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after talks collapsed over the wage dispute.

NUM is demanding a R1,100 one-off increase for 2017 and 8% for 2018, however, spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said the union was willing to agree to the chamber’s offer of a three-year term if it agreed to centralised bargaining.

The offer tabled by big mining companies in the talks included a wage increase for 2017 that would be split into R600 backdated to July and R500 from February 1.

“We are saying to them that we want [a] R1,100 once-off increase for this year. They are offering 7.5% from the 1st of July 2018 and July 2019,” Mammburu said.

In 2015, NUM agreed to a staggered increase of between R750 and R1,000 a month for 2016 and 7.5% for the second year.

The 2015 agreement ended a 10-day strike by about 30,000 mineworkers.

Mammburu said the union still had to consult members on when to embark on a strike following the awarding of the certificate.

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