Home » De Beers Pursues Five-Year Deal with NUM Amid Strike Threats

De Beers Pursues Five-Year Deal with NUM Amid Strike Threats

by Adenike Adeodun

De Beers Group, a renowned diamond miner, is working to finalise a five-year wage agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). De Beers and NUM started their discussions in March, long before their previous three-year employment agreement was due to end on April 30.

This prior agreement determined the employment conditions for about 1,500 workers in the bargaining unit at Venetia Mine and De Beers Sightholder Sales South Africa.

In a recent announcement on September 5, NUM highlighted that their prolonged wage negotiations, which have spanned four months with De Beers, had unfortunately reached an impasse. As a result, they’ve escalated the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).

NUM is rallying its 1,500+ members, gearing them up for a potential indefinite strike. The core issue? NUM is pushing for a 9% wage increase, while De Beers stands firm with its 6% offer.

Mining Weekly reported that De Beers believes that a five-year contract will instil a sense of stability, especially when considering the ongoing shift from open-pit mining to underground operations at Venetia mine. They’ve recently relocated their sorting and valuation enterprise from Kimberley to Johannesburg. 

Furthermore, De Beers points out the ongoing challenging market scenarios in the diamond industry, which have been detrimental to their operations. To bolster its stance, the company emphasises that several South African mining establishments have successfully locked in five-year agreements, with NUM even participating in some.

In the negotiation process, NUM presented a list of ten demands, while De Beers reciprocated with three, primarily concerning shifts and overtime. Notably, every issue, barring the wage increase, has been amicably resolved.

De Beers acknowledges the formal dispute declaration by the NUM as per their collective bargaining agreement. However, they also emphasise their proactive engagement in conciliation, an initiative overseen by the CCMA.

On September 6, representatives from the company convened with the union in Johannesburg, under the CCMA’s supervision, striving for mutual consensus. The ball lies in NUM’s court as they evaluate De Beers’ proposal.

Remaining optimistic, De Beers states, “With persistent dialogue with the union and our workforce, we are hopeful of achieving a sustainable agreement with the NUM.”


You may also like

Leave a Comment

The African Miner is the vanguard of the mining industry, delivering world-class insight and news.

Latest Stories

© 2024 The African Miner. All Rights Reserved.