The improved wage offer from the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) to NUM and BCAWU of 10.4% was rejected by the unions yesterday.
This offer is significantly higher than the average settlements which have been reached by NUM and other unions earlier this year.
Despite this, and the call from SAFCEC to allow employees to benefit from this wage offer, the unions have remained inflexible demanding a 13% increase. Their demand for a wage increase is in addition to a range of other cost items including, amongst others, reduced working hours, additional leave, increased annual bonuses and daily allowances.
These demands could potentially add an additional 50% to the cost of wages over and above the 13% wage increase.
"SAFCEC is of the opinion that the unions are holding the industry and the country to ransom. They seem to be uninterested in South African being ready for the 2010 World Cup," Joe Campanella, spokesman for SAFCEC, says.
"It seems inevitable at this stage that industrial action will take place tomorrow. We are deeply concerned about the effect it will have on the completion of all the critical projects being undertaken in our country at the moment."
"SAFCEC remains committed to finding a solution and is available to the unions at any stage to resume negotiations."