South African gold miner strikes to begin on Tuesday

Workers in South Africa’s gold mines are planning to begin a strike over pay on 3 September, the Chamber of Mines has said.

Last week, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) – which represents 64 per cent of all underground workers in the country – gave gold producers a seven-day ultimatum to meet its demand for pay rises of up to 60 per cent.

Affected producers include AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Sibanye Gold and Harmony Gold.

A total closure of the gold sector could cost South Africa more than 349m (£21.8m) rand per day in lost output, according to reports. However, the government has said it will not intervene in the strikes.

Entry-level underground workers earn 5,000 rand per month before housing allowances and bonuses, according to the Chamber of Mines, which represents gold producers. The NUM wants this to rise to 8000 rand, while the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union wants to see it more than double to 12,500 rand.

The Chamber of Mines’ final offer was to increase basic wages by between 6 and 6.5 per cent.

The striking gold miners will join car workers, textile workers, petrol station attendants, and retail auto workers, and will result in around three per cent of South Africa’s workforce being on strike.