JOHANNESBURG, March 12 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in Kwazulu-Natal said on Monday that its members have gone on strike at Idwala Carbonates in Port Shepstone, South of KwaZulu-Natal, after a deadlock in wage negotiations.
The operation mines a deposit of scarce, white calcitic and dolomitic limestone which then goes through various processes of quarrying, crushing, screening, milling, and beneficiation through flotation and fine milling to produce the end product.
The union said the strike started last week Wednesday when Idwala Carbonates management refused to improve their offer of a basic salary increase.
Idwala carbonates is offering workers a 6.5 salary increase while the NUM is demanding eight percent.
On the housing allowance, the company is offering R140 over and above the current R1,000 that members are getting while the NUM is demanding R1,500 instead.
Muzikayise Zakwe, NUM regional secretary in KZN, said the company is coming up with a “useless” R20,000 loan offer which is dependent on member’s credit records.
“The NUM further demands standardization of shift allowance and the company is not willing to consider standardizing shift allowance. NUM in KwaZulu-Natal feels very strongly that the attitude of the employer has failed the process since NUM has exhausted all other means and opted to go on strike which started on Wednesday last week,” Zakwe said in a statement.
“NUM has vowed to continue with the strike until the company put a reasonable offer [on the table]. Some of these issues were tabled in the previous wages but no resolution has been reached as a result the union opted to exercise its right to go on strike.”
Zakwe said the NUM was talking to its branch at cement manufacturer NPC with a view to lobbying its members at NPC to engage in a secondary strike.
“We believe that NPC will relish that opportunity since they (NPC) is at CCMA over wages and seemingly their employer is not putting any progressive offer that will convince NUM to sign an agreement,” Zakwe said.
“NUM is declaring a war to Idwala Carbonates and vowed to remain on strike until the employer put something tangible on the table.”