South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is planning a strike at De Beers’ Venetia deposit after four months of failed salary negotiations.
The open-ended strike comes after wage-increase talks collapsed, the union said Tuesday. The union members have requested a 9% pay rise, while De Beers is currently offering workers 6%.
NUM originally requested a 25% hike, then moved down to 12%, and finally settled on 9%. Members have mandated they will not go below 9%, which has caused negotiations to stall.
“The arrogance of De Beers does not only undermine mine workers, but the country in its entirety,” NUM noted. “We are very much convinced that De Beers is not a poor company and that it could afford workers’ demands.”
The organization is also upset that De Beers recently raised the salaries of senior executives, but has yet to strike a deal for miners, it explained. NUM is currently “finalizing” picketing rules with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), it added.
De Beers will meet with the CCMA today to discuss the strike and try to finalize a deal, the miner told Rapaport News.
In July, De Beers completed the first round of production from Venetia’s new underground expansion, on which it spent $2.3 billion. The miner expects the deposit, which employs 4,300 workers, to yield about 4 million carats of rough annually until at least 2045.
Main image: The Venetia mine. (Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers)