Strikes will go ahead at the Voorspoed operation in Free State province, Kimberley in Northern Cape province and Venetia in Limpopo province even as talks continue, said Peter Bailey, a negotiator for the National Union of Mineworkers. The action will also affect the company’s trading arm, Diamond Trading Co.
The union gave notice July 3 after meeting with De Beers representatives. The action follows a walkout at Glencore’s South African chrome operations after a supervisor was accused of assault. Tensions throughout the country’s mining industry remain high as companies and unions square up in regular wage talks at a time of weakening commodity demand and soaring costs.
Discussions between De Beers, which is a unit of Anglo American Plc (AAL), and union representatives have continued since the strike notice was delivered, Bailey said by telephone. The NUM demands a wage increase of 13 percent, while the company has offered 6 percent, according to the union. Workers are also seeking more leave.
Tom Tweedy, a De Beers spokesman, didn’t answer a call or immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. De Beers Consolidated Mines has 2,550 employees with 1,300 represented by the union, he said yesterday in an e-mail.
De Beers’s South African mines account for about 16 percent of the company’s total carats recovered. It also has operations in Botswana, Canada and Namibia.
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