S.African coal miners end strike

1st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

South African coal miners on Monday ended their weeklong strike after signing a pay rise agreement ranging from 7.5 to 10.5 percent, the Chamber of Mines said.

"The strike in the coal mining industry has been called off after the companies and the unions were today able to find consensus on wage increases and other conditions of employment," the chamber said in a statement.

Some 150,000 miners downed tools last Monday, joining workers in the gold, chemical and petroleum sectors who took to the streets over pay increases.

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 double-digit raises.

The miners, artisans and officials will get an eight percent increase, while the operators will take home nine percent, and a minimum wage at entry level will rise by up to 10.5 percent, the statement said.

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

"All companies are satisfied with the agreement as a win-win compromise. It provides a sound basis for a constructive relationship between employers and employees going into the future," said Frans Barker, a negotiator for the coal mining companies.

Companies affected by the strike included Anglo American Thermal Coal, Delmas Coal, Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga, Kangra Coal, Optimum Coal and Xstrata Coal.

Last Thursday oil refinery workers reached an agreement to end an 18-day stay away which saw petrol stations running dry in some parts of the country.

© 2011 AFP

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