South African coal miners strike over wages | News | DW | 04.10.2015
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South African coal miners strike over wages

Around 30,000 South African coal miners have gone on strike after negotiations fell through with the industry's executives. The union representing the miners is asking for a 14 percent pay increase amounting to 64 euros.

South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) launched an indefinite strike on Sunday after wage negotiations fell with the country's coal industry fell through last week.

More than 30,000 workers are expected to participate in the strike, which was scheduled to begin at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT).

"We took the decision to strike because we reached a deadlock," NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu told AFP news agency.

"It will continue indefinitely until the two parties can come together and solve their differences," Mammburu added.

The NUM is seeking a 14 percent increase for its miners and officials, alongside a 13 percent to 14 percent increase for the industry's lowest paid workers, amounting to R1000 ($73, 64 euros).

However, the companies locked in negotiations with the miners' union returned with an offer to increase wages by about 8 percent.

"Striking is the only way for the workers to express their dissatisfaction with these offers," Mammburu said.

The strike is expected to hit the mining houses of Exaro, Anglo American and Anglo-Swiss giant Glencore.

In August, Glencore announced it would put its Optimum Coal Mine into a form of bankruptcy protection to restructure the company.

However, the announcement followed months of substantial job cuts in a move they said was aimed at reducing costs.

According to the Chamber of Mines, the coal industry provides employment for approximately 90,000 people.

South Africa is one of the world's largest coal producers and exporters.

ls/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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