Sat Oct 22 21:45:32 CAT 2016

Wave of wage disputes threaten SA's economy

By unknown | Jul 28, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

SOUTH Africa's economy is facing more strikes. Below are details of sectors affected by wage settlements:

SOUTH Africa's economy is facing more strikes. Below are details of sectors affected by wage settlements:

GOLD - South African gold producers raised their pay offer for miners today, averting a possible strike for now.

The threat of a gold miners' strike has added to a wave of industrial action, raising pressure on Zuma to adopt a more leftist approach to economic policy.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said gold employers raised their offer to 9-10,5percent from a previously proposed 8-10percent.

Employers have also offered to raise the minimum wage to R4000 a month, the union said. The unions are meeting to decide whether to declare a strike.

PLATINUM - Wage negotiations in the platinum sector are continuing with no specific threat yet at the world's No 1 and No 2 producers Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum.

The NUM last week rejected an improved 8,5percent wage offer by Impala Platinum. It lowered its own demand to 15,5percent from an initial 20percent.

COAL - Coal sector employers made an improved wage hike offer to workers of 9-11percent this week, the NUM said.

The coal producers last offered a pay increase of 8,5-9,5percent, below the union's 15percent demands.

Solidarity union said last Thursday it was confident a wage deal could be reached with coal firms without workers striking after companies raised their wage hike offer, with a final meeting scheduled for today.

MUNICIPAL WORKERS - Thousands of council workers - including public transport workers, refuse collectors and licensing officers - went on strike yesterday.

Samwu and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu), which say they represent 150000 council workers, want a 15percent wage hike to cushion their members as the country grapples with its first economic recession in 17 years. They have rejected an 11,5percent wage increase.

PAPER, CHEMICALS - Paper, pharmaceutical and chemical sector workers began a strike last Monday after wage talks failed.

The bigger Chemical, Energy Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu), which has said it represents 65000 members, had been in talks with employers for a 10percent pay rise.

Pharmaceutical employers raised their offer to the asked-for 10percent on July 24 but refused other demands such as better maternity benefits. Chemicals employers have raised their offer to 9percent, while paper companies are still offering 7,5percent.

RAIL - Main rail workers union, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), has called off a strike planned for today to allow for further wage talks after state rail operator Metrorail raised its offer.

The United Transport and Allied Workers Union has yet to respond.

Metrorail has revised its offer from the previous proposal of between 7 and 8,5percent but has not stated what the new offer is. Satawu is demanding a 12,5percent increase.

COMMUNICATIONS - Workers at telecoms group Telkom have decided to embark on industrial action, and plan to hand the company a 48-hour notice to strike today.

They will start with pickets and hold a strike next month.

DOCTORS - A doctors' wage strike lasted about two weeks with doctors demanding more than 50percent in pay rises. Most doctors are back at work even though some demands are yet to be met.

PUBLIC BROADCASTER - SABC workers have rejected the latest wage offer. SABC offered rises of 9,25-10,25percent, short of a 12,2percent hike requested by the workers. Should SABC fail to meet their demands, the workers plan to strike, threatening a nationwide television blackout for the first time since 1976. - Reuters


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