NUM general secretary Frans Baleni. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
NUM general secretary Frans Baleni. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

THE Chamber of Mines and recognised trade unions in the coal-mining sector have signed a new wage agreement for entry-level employees.

As part of the agreement, collieries affiliated to the chamber and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and Uasa have agreed to a 5% pay increase for lower category workers, who earn between R5,700 and R7,000 a month.

The coal miners and the unions have also agreed to a one-off "incentive" bonus of R2,000 after taxation, with the exception of Exxaro.

South Africa’s biggest coal producer agreed to pay a 2% bonus for the lowest-paid workers and 1% for the highest-paid category of mineworkers.

Both agreements are set to kick in on December 1, and sit outside the next round of wage negotiations, set to begin next year.

The coal industry has not been affected by the wave of labour unrest that hit the platinum and gold mining sectors.

NUM secretary-general Frans Baleni said the union was still in talks with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) about bringing an end to the labour unrest at the Rustenburg operations of the world’s biggest platinum producer.

Questioning the motives behind the wave of intimidation meted out to fellow mineworkers, Mr Baleni said: "These events (at Rustenburg) raise the question of whether it is still about wages."