The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) convened its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at the Elijah Barayi Memorial Training College from the 26th to the 27th of August 2021.
This was the NUM’ third scheduled NEC meeting for 2021 and there were numerous challenges raised to mull over in charting the way forward for the rest of the year.
In this regard, several critical points were discussed and the NEC pronounced as follows:
On Sibanye Stillwater Current Wage Negotiations:
The NUM is highly disappointed and worried by the arrogant attitude that is being demonstrated by the Sibanye Stillwater at the current stage of wage negotiations where the company is offering the following wages.
Salaries: Category 4-8 (surface and underground workers).
Officials, Miners and Artisans
Year 3- 3,5%
Sibanye Stillwater in its two previous Quarterly Financial Results for 2021 has shown huge profits including in the Gold Sector where wage negotiations are currently taking place.
The NUM is extremely unhappy that while the company is making huge profits, it is arrogantly pleading poverty. Sibanye Stillwater is also threatening to close down three of its gold operations which are Beatrix, Driefontein and Kloof Mines.
The workers in the gold sector are the ones who, through their sweats, made huge profits that the company is enjoying today. Sibanye Stillwater is refusing to meet the worker’s wage demands as it is pleading poverty.
The current buying spree of assets by Sibanye Stillwater in the platinum sector and around the world have been financed by the profits made by the gold sector operations in South Africa of which they are now refusing to subsidize.
On ESKOM Matters
The NUM has discussed the unbundling of Eskom during its NEC meeting. The NUM views this unbundling as a precursor to privatisation. We have seen SOEs being privatised without proper consultation. We are against the unbundling of Eskom. We believe that the vertically integrated structure of Eskom is still relevant.
On the Eskom implementation of the 1.5% and unilateral change in conditions of employment, the NUM views this as a declaration of war towards our members.
This unilateral implementation of changes in conditions of service is not only unlawful but also provocative.
The NUM believes that the arbitration which is taking place on the weeks of the 18th and 25th October 2021 will hold positive results in favour of our members.
Eskom is also in the process of attacking our leaders. We have seen our PTSS and leaders at the regional and national levels being unnecessarily suspended and charged.
We have also witnessed black leaders being replaced by white leaders in Eskom. Some black leaders are suspended without any charges. We call on the ANC government to intervene and fix the leadership crisis in Eskom.
The recent rhetoric statement by the Eskom GCEO on the closing of coal power stations is unfortunate. As much as we support clean energy as the NUM, we still believe that the transition happens without compromising the economy, workers and the communities around the coal power station. We condemn these reckless statements from the GCEO of Eskom.
To this end, the NEC has resolved on a march to the ANC’s headquarters (Luthuli House) to hand over a memorandum. We will also push for an urgent meeting with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Eskom matters.
The date of the march to Luthuli House will be made public as soon as possible.
On Blyvoor Gold Mine
The NUM is planning a massive march targeted at the notorious Blyvoor Gold Mine against the attitude the company is showing towards our members and the poor occupational health and safety workers are working under at the company’s Carletonville operation.
The decision was taken after the NEC expressed dismay with the poor health and safety standards at Blyvoor Gold Mine. The NEC is deeply concerned that the mine has no second escape route. The NUM reported this health and safety matter to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), but there has never been a response from the regulator.
There has been growing tension between the workers and the company’s management over the issues of workers’ right to freedom of association. Workers are being intimidated, threatened with violence as they are refusing to join the so-called Blyvoor Workers Union (BWU) which is the company’s union of choice.
The NEC has resolved to mobilise its membership to march against the company, also on a date to be made public very soon.
The NUM has since called on the government to intervene, to listen to workers’ plights, but all these efforts were in vain. We also called on the Department of Labour to consider deregistering the so-called “Blyvoor Workers Union” established by the management. The main objective of establishing this spaza shop union is merely to continuously abuse and exploit the working class.
The NEC has also resolved to call for an urgent meeting with both the Ministers of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi and Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe to thoroughly discuss the future of the Blyvoor Gold Mine in South Africa.
For more information, please contact:
William Mabapa, NUM Acting General Secretary, 082 880 4439
Livhuwani Mammburu, NUM National Spokesperson, 083 809 3257
Luphert Chilwane, NUM Media Officer, 083 809 3255