In the media

DRDGOLD miners continue wage strike

[The New Age] - About 600 National Union of Mineworkers members continued a pay strike at DRDGOLD's Ergo operation in Brakpan, the mining company said on Wednesday.

About 600 National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members continued a pay strike at DRDGOLD's Ergo operation in Brakpan, the mining company said on Wednesday.

"Management and union representatives continue to engage in a constructive manner to find an amicable solution which will ensure the sustainability of the operation, and jobs, in the long term," the company said.

The plant's entire full-time work force downed tools on Tuesday after the company refused to accede to its demands.

It wanted all entry-level employees be "rolled up" from job category four to job category six, and the extension of a skills retention increase for engineering foremen to all foremen.

The company has offered workers a basic wage increase of eight percent, for a two-year period, for employees in job categories four and five.

It has offered a 7.5 percent wage increase for employees in categories six to 15, with a 10 percent increases in the living out allowances for 2013 and 2014.

"The effect of the implementation of the company's offer would be an 8.1 percent increase in the company's annual wage bill, amounting to approximately R19 million per annum," the company said.

If the company were to accede to the union's demand, its wage bill would amount to R43m a year, it said.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the union wanted the company to give workers an offer similar to that which the Chamber of Mines had offered.

"We are saying we want them to offer the same [deal] that the Chamber of Mines did -- which included living out benefits."

In September, the chamber signed a wage agreement with unions offering to increase living out allowances to R2000.

Seshoka said workers' living out allowance was currently R1800, and they wanted DRDGOLD to raise it to R2000.

"Is that so much to ask for?" Seshoka asked.

He said percentages did not matter if they did not make a significant difference to workers' salaries.

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