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South African gold mine strike over: unions

Published on 02/08/2011

Workers in South African gold mines on Tuesday ended a five-day strike over pay increases after reaching an agreement with the employers, unions said.

Miners, artisans and officials will receive raises of 7.5 to 10 percent, trade union Solidarity and the National Union of Mineworkers said.

“Should inflation, however, rise above the fixed wage agreement by next year, employers and the union will revisit the agreement by June next year,” Solidarity official Gideon du Plessis told the Sapa news agency.

Inflation is currently at 5.0 percent, but is expected to reach 6.0 percent by the end of the year.

“Employees who are appropriately remunerated for their skills will be more loyal and productive,” du Plessis said.

“One of the major problems within the mining industry is the ongoing migration of employees from the industry to better paid positions,” he added.

The mid-year winter months are known as “strike season” in South Africa, where contract negotiations around the end of the fiscal year on June 30 often lead to workers walking out of the job demanding wage hikes.

On Monday coal miners ended their weeklong strike after reaching a similar deal, but diamond miners are still off the job after launching a strike on July 22.