De Beers seeking five-year agreement with NUM as union threatens strike action

An image of the NUM logo

De Beers Group says its intention is to secure an agreement on a five-year wage deal with the National Union of Mineworkers

Photo by Creamer Media

8th September 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online


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Diamond miner De Beers Group says its intention is to secure an agreement on a five-year wage deal with trade union the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

The entities have been in negotiations since March ahead of the expiry of its three-year agreement on April 30 on conditions of employment affecting about 1 500 employees in the bargaining unit at Venetia mine and De Beers Sightholder Sales South Africa.

In a statement on September 5, the NUM said the four-month-long wage negotiations with De Beers had collapsed and that a dispute had been declared at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

“The NUM is currently involved in a mobilisation process among its more than 1 500 members, preparing them for a protected indefinite strike. NUM members are demanding a wage increase of 9%, while De Beers is offering workers only 6%,” the union stated.

“We believe a five-year agreement will provide a measure of certainty, particularly against the backdrop of the transition from openpit mining to the underground mine at Venetia mine and the recent move of our sorting and valuation business from Kimberley to Johannesburg.

“As the diamond industry, we are also faced with challenging market conditions that are continuing to have an adverse impact on our business,” De Beers says.

The company highlights that five-year agreements have been achieved by several mining houses in South Africa and that the NUM has been party to these.

The NUM, meanwhile, presented ten demands to De Beers, and the company tabled three demands related to shifts and overtime. All matters except for the wage increases have been settled, the company informs.  

It confirms that the NUM has declared a dispute in terms of the collective bargaining agreement and De Beers has been engaging in conciliation facilitated by the CCMA.

The company says it met with the union under the auspices of the CCMA, in Johannesburg, on September 6, in another attempt to reach agreement, and the NUM is considering its offer.

“We are confident that through continued engagement with the union and our employees we will reach a sustainable settlement with the NUM,” De Beers avers.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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