Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it is ready to face off with gold mining companies at negotiations starting on Wednesday.

The union wants entry-level wages of R10‚500 for underground workers and a 15% across the board increase for officials, a living-out allowance of R3‚000 or a housing allowance of R5‚000, as well as increases in shift allowances‚ a transport allowance, a meal allowance of R120 per day and an acting allowance equal to 100% of the salary of the position‚ among other demands.

Comprehensive changes to the miners’ leave system will be on the bargaining table too.

The NUM said it wanted a minimum of 35 days annual leave‚ six months of fully paid maternity leave‚ 10 days antenatal and postnatal leave‚ paternity leave to be a minimum of 10 days and 10 days’ family responsibility leave. Compassionate leave should be a minimum of five days and study leave should be a minimum of three days per subject.

Furthermore‚ sick leave should be increased to 120 days over a two-year period‚ and both accident leave as well as and sick leave due to occupational disease should be unlimited‚ the NUM said.

Among other demands‚ the NUM also wants severance equal to four weeks for every year of service and a minimum severance package of R45‚000‚ from R30‚000.

In addition to demands relating to medical incapacity and funeral expenses‚ the union would like to see specified protocols for workplace fatalities.

A day-long service of mourning should be held within seven days of the accident happening‚ the NUM proposes.

"As the NUM‚ we have always maintained that wages in the mining sector remained too low‚ and that was as a result of apartheid legacy when the black mining labour force was ruthlessly exploited. The NUM also maintained that our average member typically has 10 dependants‚ straining their ability to provide for their families. We expect the employers to negotiate in good faith while respecting the central bargaining forum."