JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A year ago, militant South African miners affiliated to upstart union AMCU were marching with spears, clubs and knives in often violent wildcat strikes and protests against management bosses.
But in recent months leaders of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, an emerging force on the labour stage of Africa’s biggest economy, have been sitting down to tough but peaceful wage talks with mining executives.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 23 (Reuters) – If South Africa’s gold
miners strike over wages next week, the loss of output will drag
down companies already being crushed between rising costs and
falling prices for the metal.
The strikers, seeking better pay and conditions for one of
the toughest jobs in the world, may also be putting their own
livelihoods on the line if a protracted stoppage or the scale of
their wage demands force some mines to close.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 22 (Reuters) – South Africa faced a strike
wave across leading sectors of the economy on Thursday and the
labour unrest threatened to hit its struggling gold industry,
already squeezed by rising costs and falling bullion prices.
Despite appeals from President Jacob Zuma and other
government leaders for peaceful wage negotiations in Africa’s
largest economy, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said
its members in the construction sector would down tools from
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Hit by lower gold prices
and rising costs at home, South Africa’s Gold Fields
reported a second-quarter loss on Thursday and said it was
expanding abroad with a $300 million deal to buy three
Australian mines from top producer Barrick Gold.
The company said it lost $129 million in the three months to
the end of June compared with a net profit of $27 million in the
previous quarter and $105 million in the same quarter last year.
This made for a net attributable loss of 18 U.S. cents per
share, compared to net earnings of 4 cents per share in the
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s labor unrest widened on Thursday as tens of thousands of construction workers prepared to down tools next week and unions in the gold sector also signaled their intention to call a strike over wages.
The escalating industrial action spelled more trouble for Africa’s largest economy, which was hit last year by a wave of violent wildcat strikes in the mining sector that cost billions of dollars in lost output, dented growth, and triggered damaging sovereign credit downgrades.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 21 (Reuters) – South Africa’s National
Union of Mineworkers said on Wednesday it would ballot its
members this week on whether to go on strike after gold miners’
wage talks stalled, raising the prospect of crippling stoppages
in an industry in terminal decline.
“We will go and consult with our members and put it to a
vote. We are going to strike, there is no question about it, I
just can’t say when,” NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told Reuters.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Six weeks of wage talks
between South African gold producers and unions have failed to
bridge the chasm between their positions, increasing the
prospect of crippling strikes in a declining industry battling
low prices and soaring costs.
Gold mine stoppages would inflict more damage on Africa’s
largest economy, which is already losing $60 million a day to a
strike by 30,000 workers in the car manufacturing sector that
accounts for 6 percent of gross domestic product.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Anglo American Platinum
(Amplats) said it planned almost 7,000 job cuts at its South
African operations including thousands of compulsory lay-offs,
drawing an angry response from a labour union and raising the
risk of renewed unrest at its mines.
Amplats, the world’s top platinum producer and a
unit of Anglo American, had aimed for 14,000 job cuts
after posting its first loss last year, but lowered the target
after a backlash from the government and the unions, which
organised a series of strikes.
JOHANNESBURG, July 10 (Reuters) – “A living wage” is the
battle cry of South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and
Construction Union (AMCU) as it and rival unions plunge into pay
talks this month with mining houses.
But what is a living wage for a South African miner?
Finding a definition, no easy task, has become the goal of
an increasingly militant labour force demanding pay increases
ranging from 15 to 150 percent, which mining companies can ill
afford as precious metals prices tumble and costs surge.
KROMDRAAI/JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) – A hand drill lying in the hillside tunnel of a 19th-century South African gold mine testifies to the back-breaking labour by black miners that built what was once the world’s biggest bullion industry.
But even with basic tools and cheap labour, costs overran returns at the Kromdraai gold mine north of Johannesburg, which listed in London in 1893 and closed in 1914.