Friday, 28 August 2009

Impala to resume operations next week

As reported before that Impala operations at Rustenburg were stopped due to National Union of Mineworkers strike – this is likely to continue at least until Monday next week, 31st August 2009.

This is because, according to some workers, union representatives are still locked in closed negotiation with Impala on their 13 and 14 percentage wage demand respectively.

Yesterday, workers were asked to come back on Monday to hear feedback on the negotiation and when they are likely to resume their normal operations. This after wage negotiations between the two went sour that resulted in workers striking since Tuesday morning, 24 August 2009.

NUM to blame for the mess

NUM representative in the wage negotiations are to be blamed for the strike at Impala operations and the confusion thereof. This was after workers were informed of how the wage negotiation demand was structure.

According to Impala operations, it has about 16 or more shafts scattered and divided into North and South shafts.

During wage negotiations, I was informed, each side demanded a certain wage increase. North shafts demanded a 13% increase while South demanded a 14% increase. However, during the negotiation process, only a 13% increase was proposed which impala, apparently, agreed to.

This, as a result, was met with great dissatisfaction by union members who out of frustration and being mislead by their representatives after negotiations – went on strike this Tuesday.

It has been reported by some workers that the certificate from Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) – to proceed with the strike, legally, as wage negotiations with Impala had deadlocked – was issued prior to a major accident that caused 9 lives at Impala’s No.14 shaft last month.

Further, it’s been said by some workers that the North Shafts have accepted the 13% increase from Impala while South has declined to accept it despite the chief negotiators having signed for it.

This, as a result, has lead to many of the mine workers into believing they are being cheated on, mislead and misinformed and misrepresented by their union representatives/negotiators at negotiations.

This morning both Impala and union representatives were still locked in negotiations hoped to last tomorrow Friday, if not late Monday.

While this is still not clear – at the time of writing – operations however are hoped to start next week Wednesday or Thursday after an agreement with Impala on wage demands has been reached.

Although some union members have threatened to hurt Impala's non-striking workers and those of other companies at Impala sites on Tuesday – that has not happened most importantly, the strike has not been as violet and life-threatening as those of other unions, e.g. South African Defence Union

What could not be explained to workers in clear terms is how their 13/14% wage demand would be split amongst others: transport and housing allowance.

Sadly, many contracting companies under Impala will incur major losses. This will more likely Impala too due to the Platinum’s exporting demand.

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