De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) today signed a two year wage agreement ending a 14 day strike at De Beers’ operations in South Africa.
In terms of the agreement increases for artisans and more skilled employees will be 8% and for the entry level employees 10% (who constitute less than 10 per cent of the 1 778 employees in the bargaining unit represented by the Union). The new scales will be implemented in August and backdated to May 2011 when the previous agreement expired. A 2% increase to the stand-by allowance was also agreed to. The agreement will be for a two year period. In 2012 increases will be at a level determined by the consumer price index plus two per cent.
Wayne Smerdon, Head of Industrial Relations at De Beers in Johannesburg commented: “The Company is pleased that after 14 days away the striking employees will report for duty on Friday, 5 August. I expect the Union, employees and management will have found the experience challenging and we will all have learnt some positive things from what happened”.
CEO Phillip Barton concluded: “The leadership of De Beers expects normality to be restored quickly at the four mines affected. An intensive programme of safety and business orientation for returning employees is set to commence before employees begin work. De Beers has not experienced a strike in almost two decades and while the normal strike contingencies worked better than hoped for, and overall production targets were met with remaining employees, there is no doubt that the strike had an impact which must now be successfully addressed if employees and the Company are to meet the production targets we have for 2011”.