numBL Premium reports that trade unions and the gold mining sector are due to hammer out a new three-year wage deal later in 2021 and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is preparing to demand wage increases of nearly 60% for the lowest-paid miners.

Last Wednesday, NUM acting general secretary William Mabapa said the union would be demanding a minimum wage of R15,000. That would hike wages for the lowest-paid workers, who take home R9,500, by 58%. The consumer inflation rate is about 3%. For the rest of the workers, Mabapa told a media briefing that the union would seek between 15% and 20%, saying the demands would be reasonable because the industry was raking in super profits and the salary scale would be in line with what workers at Eskom and De Beers were earning. If the demands were not met, Mabapa said workers would down tools in intermittent strikes. “This time we will not just be going on [a full-blown] strike. We will work for a week, and let the employees work another week until we sign an agreement,” said Mabapa. The NUM’s demands will include a R5,000 housing allowance, a R500 callout fee, a R150 meal allowance, a funeral benefit of R60,000 and a severance package of R150,000. The union will also be demanding long-service awards of R10,000 for five years, R20,000 for 10 years and R30,000 for 15 years.

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