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Solidarity refuses to sign Kumba agreement

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Solidarity refuses to sign Kumba agreement

Solidarity refuses to sign Kumba agreement

12th July 2023

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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by Polity.org.za, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by Polity.org.za.

Solidarity has announced that it will not sign a salary agreement that Kumba Iron Ore wants to impose on its members.

This follows after Kumba, as Anglo American's iron ore producer, reached an agreement on the sly with the other mining unions involved after the declaration of dispute by Solidarity. Kumba wants to make this agreement automatically applicable to Solidarity's members.

“Our refusal to sign is a matter of principle. Kumba does not negotiate in good faith and forces an unfavourable agreement on our members. The company introduces unfair practices that result in certain categories of workers having to subsidise the increases of other workers,” said Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis.

In terms of the new agreement, skilled workers will receive a lower percentage increase than predominantly semi-skilled workers. This practice stems from the previous three-year wage agreement when the same unfair principle was applied by Kumba.

The new agreement offers workers mostly at higher job levels increases of 6,5%, 5,5% and 5% over the next three years. Workers at lower job levels will receive increases of between 8% and 7,5% for year one, and increases of 6% and 5,5% for the two years thereafter.

Du Plessis argues that as with the previous agreement, Kumba once again used contradictory wording in a clause for the reopening of negotiations should inflation rise above a certain percentage.

He believes the clause has no binding force and is misleading. Under the previous agreement, the same clause resulted in a minimal adjustment well below the CPI for its members, while other workers received above-inflation adjustments.

"Despite favourable results for the financial year, Kumba started pleading poverty during the negotiations. They were unwilling to offer their employees an increase in line with Statistics South Africa's (SSA’s) inflation rate of 7,1% for the Northern Cape where Kumba’s mines are located.

“On a daily basis our members experience the way Anglo American presents an image of no money shortages when it comes to corporate luxuries, but money is an issue when wage increases come into play.”

 

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