South African gold miners warn to go on strike

AFP, Tuesday 26 Jul 2011

Gold miners in South Africa warns to strike, meetings with mining firms fail on unwillingness to meet the workers' demand for a 14 per cent raise

Gold miners in South Africa have given notice that they will go on strike from Thursday after negotiations with employers broke down, the National Union of Mineworkers said in a statement.

The union said more than 200,000 gold miners would walk off the job after failed meetings Monday with mining firms unwilling to meet the workers' demand for a 14 per cent raise.

"The whole-day conciliation came to an abrupt end when the parties could not reach an agreement," it said.

Management is offering increases of between seven and nine percent, the union said.

The country's inflation rate was five percent in June and is forecast to reach six percent by the end of the year.

The mid-year winter months are known as "strike season" in South Africa, where contract negotiations around the end of the fiscal year on 30 June often lead to workers walking of the job demanding double-digit raises.

Some 150,000 coal miners went on strike Monday, raising fears of possible electricity shortages in a country that relies on coal-fired power for more than 90 per cent of supply.

But state power provider Eskom said it had enough coal stockpiles to keep its plants running for more than a month.

Employees at the world's biggest diamond firm, De Beers, have also been on strike since 22 July.

Some 70,000 workers at oil refineries and related industries have also been on strike since 11 July, leading to shortages at some petrol stations.

Public-sector workers are due to decide Tuesday if they will also go on strike.

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