S.Africa mining union demands double wages

A militant mining union in South Africa is insisting on a 100 per cent rise in sectoral wages.

The newly-established Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union lodged its demands as the annual wage negotiations approach.

They are also insisting on more housing allowances, nine months paid maternity leave and medical care, The Australian reports.

“We have submitted our demands to the chamber and we are hoping for a fruitful dialogue to afford the workers a living wage,” AMCU deputy leader Jimmy Garna said.

The AMCU is demanding the lowest paid workers’ pay is doubled from 7,500 rand ($750) a month.

It is also asking for entry level salaries for underground workers to be increased to 12,500 from around 6,000 rand.

The Chamber of Mines said it intends to have discussions with all the unions before beginning the wage talks next month.

Unsuccessful talks could result in violent mass protests in a period when the mining sector is grappling with financial debt after a number of strikes since last year.

The country’s mining industry has been struggling with a number of violent labour clashes over the last year.

Police shot and killed 34 striking miners last August in one day.

Up to 4000 mineworkers were on a sit-in strike at an Anglo American Platinum mine earlier this month.

The workers went on strike in the country’s unstable platinum area to protest against the suspension of four leaders from the AMCU.

A leader from the National Union of Mineworkers was shot dead earlier this month when two unidentified men approached and shot him as he emerged from a morning meeting.

They also wounded another man.

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