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Wage Negotiations with South African Gold Miners Making Good Progress

South African Chamber of Mines is making good progress with wage negotiations with mine workers of the gold mining companies. Dr Elize Strydom is the Chamber of Mines negotiator for the gold mining companies. She said that she was heartened by the unions’ response that they share the Chamber’s concerns about the future of the gold mining industry.

Dr Strydom also said that they were also encouraged by the unions’ indication that they would be prepared to engage with the Chamber on the co-designing of arrangements that could assist in the effective usage of mining assets and in this way stem the drop off in production levels.

She added that the vision was that the framework that will form part of the 2011 Wage Agreement but that the actual engagement on the co-designing will only commence after the negotiations. The negotiations are expected to be continued on Wednesday and the coal sector is expected to begin its salary negotiations on Thursday.

The unions are seeking an increase in wage percentages as gold prices have gone up by 37% in the last one year. The National Union of Mineworkers and the United Association of South Africa are seeking wage increases of 14 percent, while the Solidarity union is seeking 12 percent since consumer prices rose an annual 4.6 percent in May, according to the nation’s statistics office.

Frans Baleni, the general secretary of the NUM, said that there should absolutely be no waste of time. We do not have all the time in the world and we cannot waste time dancing on one spot. The chamber however said that production in the gold mining industry had consistently declined. It also faced pressure from the high costs of electricity, water and fuel.

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