Labour Union groups in the Republic of South Africa have said that some 80,000 gold miners in the country have gone on an indefinite strike to call for increment in their wages.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called for a 10% wage rise but their demands have been kicked against by mines authorities. Mines authorities say they can afford 6% but it has been rejected by the workers.
President Jacob Zuma has appealed to the mineworkers to accept the offer amid looking for a solution to avert a stoppage that will hurt Africa’s largest economy.
Analysts say the strike by the mineworkers could cost South Africa more than $30m a day in lost of output that will be a significant blow to the South African economy.
Mine authorities also say it could lead to gold mines closing and thousands of jobs being lost, following a fall in the price of gold on the work market.
Spokeswoman for gold producers grouped in the Chamber of Mines, Charmane Russell told the Reuters African Service that the miners are determined not to go to work until their demands are met.
“It has officially started. There are people who have not gone underground, they wants their demands met at all cost’’, she said.
There were unsubstantiated claims that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said it is determined to end the culture of low pay to mineworkers dating back to the apartheid. Apartheid which was the rule of only the minority whites ended in 1994, Nelson Mandela led the struggle.
According to government statistics, the average South African miner’s monthly pay including personal allowances and benefits is estimated to be around 15,840 rand ($1,500) at the end of last year.
But analysts say mineworkers see that they are due a bigger share from the multi-billion-dollar industry establishment by the mines companies which is largely owned by the whites.
South Africans were shocked last year when police shot dead 34 platinum miners during an unofficial strike at the Marikana Mine close to the city of Rustenburg.
Issaka Adams NationalTurk Africa News