Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 July 2009 – South African gold producers have raised their pay offer for miners, averting a possible strike for the moment, according to the mineworkers unions.
Reuters reports that the threat of a gold miners’ strike has added to a wave of industrial action, raising pressures on newly elected President Jacob Zuma to adopt a more leftist approach to economic policy.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) “’ South Africa’s biggest union “’ said gold employers had raised their offer to between 9 and 10.5% from the last proposal of an increase of between 8 and 10%.
The employers have also offered to raise the minimum wage to R4 000, the union added.
"We are going to consult our members and then revert back to the employers," NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told Reuters.
The union is demanding a 15% wage hike, nearly double South Africa’s last measured inflation of 8%.
Asked whether a strike could still happen, Seshoka said “I cannot rule out that possibility.”
The smaller Solidarity union said it would recommend that its members take up the offer, especially as it would award a double-digit rise for lower tier workers.
"We think it’s a good offer “’ a win-win situation, and a strike has been averted in the gold mining industry,” Solidarity spokesman Reint Dyekama told Reuters.
The talks will resume on July 28.