JOHANNESBURG: Tens of thousands of gold miners were set to go on strike yesterday after wage talks broke down, threatening to cost millions of dollars in lost output in the troubled sector.
Powerful labour group the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) — which represents the bulk of 120,000 workers affected — called for stoppages following its members’ rejection of a 6.5 percent wage hike last week.
NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said yesterday that the strike would kick off on the 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) shift.
“We will go until Christmas,” he said.
The gold sector stands to lose 761kg in production each day, worth around $34m, gold industry spokeswoman Charmane Russell said.
Gold workers are demanding wage increases of between 60 and 100 percent, denouncing company executives’ high salaries while workers live in poverty in a country with one of the world’s biggest wealth gaps. AFP