Anglo American, Glencore Face South African Coal Pay Strike

Updated on
  • National Union of Mineworkers demands up to 9% annual increase
  • Strike certificate obtained after negotiations collapse

South African coal producers and the main union representing their workers failed to reach an agreement on wages and the labor group has been given permission to call a strike.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents producers including Anglo American Plc’s coal unit and Glencore Plc, met with the National Union of Mineworkers on Wednesday. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration issued a certificate of non-resolution to the dispute, the two sides confirmed in separate statements.

“Negotiations between the NUM and the Chamber of Mines have officially collapsed,” the union said in its statement. The NUM leadership will report back to members and issue a notice to go on strike in due course, it said.

Following a number of revised offers during negotiations that started in July, the companies put forward a three-year deal last month. The chamber called the proposal fair and reasonable and said coal workers are among the highest paid in the mining industry.

“The employers presented revised offers in an attempt to settle the dispute” at Wednesday’s meeting, the chamber said in an emailed response to questions. “The parties could not reach agreement.”

The NUM represents about 70 percent of the 14,000 workers involved in centralized collective bargaining with the chamber, according to the lobby. The entire coal mining sector has about 70,000 employees, it said.

The union has maintained demands for a one-time payment of 1,100 rand ($78), an 8 percent pay increase for 2018 and 9 percent for the following year, the labor group said.

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