Arab Today, arab today south africa mining union demands doubling of wages
Last Updated : GMT 02:07:35
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

South Africa mining union demands doubling of wages

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today South Africa mining union demands doubling of wages

Johannesburg - AFP

South Africa\'s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union on Tuesday demanded a 100 percent hike in sectoral wages. The militant union filed its tough demand ahead of annual wage negotiations, also requiring increased housing allowances, nine months paid maternity leave for women and medical care. \"We have submitted our demands to the chamber and we are hoping for a fruitful dialogue to afford the workers a living wage,\" said AMCU deputy leader Jimmy Gama. South Africa\'s mining sector has been rattled by a series of violent labour disputes over the last year, including one day of carnage that saw 34 striking miners killed by police last August. Many fear this year\'s talks to prove to be a flashpoint for further unrest. AMCU said it wants to double the current pay of the lowest paid workers from 7,500 rand ($750) a month. They want also entry level wages for underground workers to be upped to 12,500, from around 6,000 rand. AMCU has been embroiled in a bitter turf war with the ruling ANC aligned National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), resulting in sporadic work stoppages. The union, which claims to be apolitical has eaten into the membership base of the powerful NUM, whom it accuses of being in bed with business and abandoning the workers\' struggle. The Chamber of Mines said it plans to meet with all unions before embarking on the wage talks next month. \"We will first hold pre-negotiations meetings with all unions, where they will officially table their demands before starting talks in July,\" said Elize Strydom, the chamber\'s senior employment executive. Failure to reach an agreement is likely to spark a wave of mass protests, at a time when the industry is reeling from financial losses caused by a series of stoppages since last year. Attempts by mining houses to trim losses by cutting jobs have been met by criticisms from government and unions.

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