JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – After embarking on a strike at Glencore’s Koornfontein operation over what it claimed were unfair deviations from the company’s standard retrenchment package, trade collective, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), will respond to a revised retrenchment settlement offer from the miner at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Thursday.
Some 500 NUM members embarked on a protected strike at Glencore’s Mpumalanga-based mine on October 17, in protest against what it believes are inconsistencies in the retrenchment package offered to around 240 NUM members employed at the mine’s Gloria shaft, in July.
The union told Mining Weekly Online on the third day of the strike that retrenched Koornfontein workers had been offered less than workers who had been retrenched at Glencore’s Tweefontein and Tugo mines.
“Why is the company paying separate packages? Glencore is deviating from the same formula it is using at other operations, such as Tweefontein and Tugo. We are being undermined and we will make sure they feel the pinch. We are also intending to apply for a secondary strike from other Glencore operations so that NUM members there can embark on a sympathy strike,” he added.
However, after NUM issued Glencore with the secondary strike notice for the Optimum colliery, Tugo and Tweefontein, Glencore approached the courts and was awarded an interdict to the strike. The NUM then withdrew the notice.
On Monday, however, Glencore presented the union with a revised retrenchment package offer, which NUM Highveld regional secretary Stanley Lebelo said was taken back to NUM members for consideration.
“We have received the response from our members and will now meet with Glencore on Thursday at the CCMA to communicate this to them,” he said, unwilling to disclose whether or not the workers had accepted the miner’s new offer.
Glencore confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that it had made an offer to NUM in an effort to end the strike at its Koornfontein operations and was awaiting the union’s feedback.
According to Lebelo, Koornfontein workers had originally been offered the equivalent of a three-week salary package for the first year of employment, while those who had worked at the mine for between two and six years were afforded an additional two-week salary package for every year worked.
Those employed for seven years were offered an additional one-week salary package for every year worked after their sixth year of employment.
However, he said that workers retrenched at Glencore’s Tweefontein and Tugo mines were given a four-week salary package for their first year of employment, while those employed for between two and six years were given an additional three-week salary payment for each year worked.
Those employed for seven years or longer were granted an additional two-week salary settlement for every year worked.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
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