Welcome Christmas gift for Solidarity members

A favourable wage agreement, reached between the trade union Solidarity and Northam Platinum’s Zondereinde Mine near Thabazimbi, diffused a drawn-out wage dispute and brought renewed hope for the Christmas Season among Solidarity members, the trade union, Solidarity, today said. As part of a two-year wage agreement, Solidarity’s members at the mine will receive a wage increase of 9% backdated to 1 July, and next year, employees will receive an increase equivalent to the consumer price index (CPI) or 9%, whichever is the higher.

According to Solidarity Spokesperson, Louis Pretorius, category 9 employees at the Zondereinde Mine will receive a further 0,5% increase for years of service in addition to the  9% increase.

“The living-out allowance for employees will also increase by 9%, while a separate forum will consider further increases to this allowance in line with market related housing costs, given that mine housing is not sufficient anymore,” Pretorius said. Meanwhile, the employer also increased the three shift rotation allowance from 3% to 4,5% while surface artisans’ annual leave was increased from 28 days to 30 days. “As part of the agreement, employees will for the first time now also be entitled to 2 days’ family responsibility leave”.

Solidarity represents 500 miners, artisans and staff who have scarce skills, and this wage agreement comes as a welcome Christmas gift after tough, drawn-out wage negotiations over the past five months.

“During the previous round, the employer offered an increase of only 6,6% for 2011 and 6,8% for 2012. The agreement that was finally signed brings renewed hope to Solidarity members and shows that the mining company indeed values scarce skills. Moreover, Northam has also rewarded its employees for their perseverance,” Pretorius stated.