South Africa’s gold mining sector facing another prolonged strike

VENTURES AFRICA – South Africa, Africa’s most advanced economy, could face yet another prolonged strike when the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) takes on the gold mining companies. Amcu has called for an increase in the basic pay for entry level workers in the gold mining sector to be more than doubled.

Amcu, which is known for being a tough wage negotiator, was also behind the platinum wage strike which lasted nearly five months last year, demanding that its lowly based workers be paid R12 500.00 ($1.045).

The platinum miners and Amcu resolved to increase the salary by about 20 percent a year annually. But this crippled the platinum miners because these companies are now set to retrench thousands of workers.

Joseph Mathunjwa, the President of Amcu, this week said his union would demand a monthly wage of R12.500 ($1.045) for workers who currently earn around R6.000 ($508.98) from the gold miners.”The mineworkers are enslaved across the country. Whatever we put forward is to liberate the mining workers from this oppression,” Reuters quoted Mathunjwa as having said.

South Africa’s gold miners that could be hit by the strike include AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Harmony. These companies have been negatively impacted by decreasing profits and surging costs.

The companies reckon increased wages and strikes would cripple the already stressed industry.