S.Africa unions reject gold miners' final pay offer

27th August 2013, Comments 0 comments

Employers in South Africa's strategic gold mining sector Tuesday tabled their final pay increase offers to workers, which unions immediately rejected, raising the spectre of widened strikes in the country.

Seven gold mining firms, including giants AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields, offered a maximum of 6.5 percent pay raise.

But the powerful National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) immediately spurned the offer.

"We reject it with the contempt it deserves," said NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka. "We think that it is a serious insult to the working poor."

He declined to elaborate on the next action, after its members earlier threatened strikes if their 60-percent pay demands were not met.

They will now likely join tens of thousands of employees in the auto, construction and aviation sectors who have downed tools over wages.

Petrol station attendants, motor mechanics and car dealer employees will abandon work next week.

The gold mines offer, which includes an inflation-pegged housing allowance, will be valid for a two-year period.

The Chamber of Mines which negotiates on behalf of the gold producers warned that the sector "remains in a perilous financial position, and can ill-afford further increases or indeed industrial action."

"We need a sustainable agreement that will preserve our mines, and consequently jobs," said the Chamber's chief negotiator Elize Strydom in a statement.

The latest offer will guarantee remuneration of 9,170 rand ($882) per month, including allowances.

© 2013 AFP

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